Sunday, January 31, 2016

Patch, Our Little Hero

"Mommy?"  Patch's voice was just above a whisper in the darkness of the boys' bedroom tonight.  James was already asleep but Patch, our former champion sleeper, has had a hard time falling asleep alone lately, and so I was sitting with him as he drifted off.  "I miss Jamesy!"

His voice was so tiny and sad that I reassured him that James was asleep in his crib, and that his crib is only two feet away from Patch's toddler bed, and that they'd be awake and playing before he knew it.

Patch and James are inseparable and if James is following Maggie into trouble of some sort (usually of a climbing sort) Patch is nearly always right there to shout "Uh oh!  Mommy!  Baby brother! Uh oh!" until I glance over and rescue James from whatever it is that he's trying to do.

Our house is quite thoroughly baby proofed, but with a big sister like Maggie leading the way, he still finds ways to surprise me by getting into trouble.

It seems that Patch's watchfulness of Maggie, which persists to this day, has carried over into telling me whenever he thinks his little brother needs extra attention too.


Maggie's elopement this summer definitely made an impression on Patch (for those who don't know, he was a little over 2 1/2 at the time).  

If Maggie isn't in the room with us, because she's gone upstairs, or because she's at therapy and he didn't notice when she left, he'll look around and say "Where'd Maggie go?  Where's Maggie?  Maggie upstairs?"  

His concern is especially touching since if there are two kids who are going to be getting into an argument about something it's going to be Maggie and Patch.  They've hit a lot of developmental milestones together and their closeness sometimes expresses itself in arguments.

Even when she isn't with us he's still alert.  Once I assure him of where she is he instantly relaxes, but at least once a day he checks in if he isn't sure where she's gone to.

This week we went to a playgroup/women's group at our parish.  Maggie was at therapy and so I took the other three with me.  

A few times people left and the left the doors to the outer hallway open.  I didn't really notice, because I wasn't watching for open doors the way  I would if Maggie was with us. But Patch was. 

Twice I saw him run across the room towards the doors and I got up to follow him, afraid he was following in his older sister's footsteps of running off at the first opportunity.  Instead it became clear that he wanted to make sure the doors were closed.  The first time a few older kids had walked out and he quickly went to the door and closed it and then looked at me proudly.

The second time though there were people standing outside the door talking and he stood in the doorway and then gave me a worried look as he waited until everyone either came in or left altogether, before carefully closing the door.  


It can be tough being three.

Lately this has manifested in arguments with just about anyone about just about anything.

The little guy has a serious case of the nos and it's often exasperated by having an older sister who's only too willing to argue and say "yes" over and over again to answer each of his "nos."  

So I was surprised tonight when he was laying in bed and he hugged the stuffed animal that I picked up that has a little button that plays the new baby's heartbeat from the last ultrasound.

"Patch, you know the new baby's going to be a girl."  And then I told him what we're going to name her.  And he said "Why?" And I told him because we really like that name.  He was quiet for a moment and I said "What do you think Patch?  Are you going to be a good big brother to a little sister?"  

He was silent for a bit longer.  I half expected a no, since that's his favorite word these days.  Instead in a clear little voice he said "Yes!" and went back to cuddling his favorite stuffed pound puppy as he drifted off to sleep.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tiebreaker: And the baby is a...

I started out wanting to wait out the whole pregnancy this time to find out whether baby was a boy or a girl.

But Paul really, really wanted to know... and so we finally struck up a deal that he would know and I wouldn't.

Which lasted for almost a month, before I realized that I just wouldn't be able to handle him knowing while I didn't know.  

So yesterday, at 17 weeks and two days, I went in for an ultrasound.  

I came home with a bunch of cute photos of the highlights:

And a video:

And I announced the news that Sadie had been waiting to hear.  

I'd had a strong feeling about what we were having, and Paul claimed to be totally certain.  

I'd only had bad morning sickness and three time a week migraines with the girls.  And since morning sickness and migraines have plagued the first trimester, and are now a big part of the second trimester, I was guessing pink (as was Paul).  

Almost immediately when the tech began the ultrasound, the baby was in position and we were able to see that our little tie breaker is in fact going to give me a chance to pull out the boxes of fluffy dresses and the cute pink and purple onsies out of the basement.  

Which works out well since our boys were born in October and November and our girls have birthdays in June and July, meaning that the sizes should be pretty accurate for the seasons again.

Sadie was elated and ran around the house excitedly telling everyone. 

When told Patch said "okay" in a totally disinterested voice.  

And that is our big week for day month!  

I can hardly believe that we're to the point where they can already tell!  Halfway point, here we come!  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

17 Weeks!

Yesterday we hit 17 weeks and so I thought I'd show my first real bump picture from this pregnancy.  
And somehow I managed to not be looking when any of the photos were actually snapped.  So this was as good as it gets:

Tomorrow's my latest check up!

This pregnancy is speeding right along!

Monday, January 25, 2016

On Staircases and Emergency Trips to Pick Up Baby Gates

Yesterday was one of those days.

The kind when you frantically message your husband on Facebook and say something along the lines of "I need you to go to Target and pick up the new baby gate that I just ordered and paid for online and bring it home as soon as you can and assemble it in place of the old gate across the stairs because it's just not working anymore!!!!"

Only in real life the message was split up into a dozen small hastily sent fragments, typed with one hand while making sure the baby didn't attempt to lay siege to the stairs yet again.

I'm pretty sure it was "one of those days" because Saturday was so perfect and everyone had been absolutely and completely on their best behavior at the exact same time all day Saturday.  The scales of the balance needed to swing back a bit in the opposite direction to even things out.

Is it strange that while I was picking out the baby gate on the website while scanning for the words "in stock now" I was estimating how long it would last?

Ah yes, an accordion style wooden gate.  Are those metal connecting pieces?  I think so.  We've had two of those... it might last for... six months before they destroy it.... six months is a good run for a baby gate in this house.  And it drills into the wall.  None of those pressure plates.  Ridiculous.  The kids can take those out in an afternoon.  Let's do it.

Except it arrived with only plastic wall connecting pieces... so maybe it'll only last four months.  Or two.

Maggie and James are as thick as thieves.  He looks up to her and has apparently decided to follow in her footsteps... straight up the walls.

When Maggie was tiny she started climbing things.  Of course, she walked first, taking her first steps at 10 months and walking across the room on her first birthday.

James has decided to skip walking and go straight to climbing.

On Sunday Patch and Maggie spent the day opening the baby gate (which apparently wasn't all the "baby" proof anyways) and encouraging him to sprint climb our stair case before I could get to him.

He's surprisingly good at it.  He's also mastered reckless climbs up onto the dining room chairs and the couch.

Falling does not appear to deter him in the least.

The new gate, at three feet tall, doesn't deter Maggie in the least.  She can easily swing herself over it in a matter of moments.

James and Patch, on the other hand are now stuck downstairs until I lift the handle.

Which reminds me, I still haven't blogged about James' latest doctor's appointment.

At James' last neurology appointment he narrowly avoided being sent for a sedated MRI.

He's a big fan of his left arm and his left leg.  He's not a big fan of using his right arm or his right leg if he can help it.

He drags his right leg a little when he pushes his little walker during PT, and his right ankle tips inward and wobbles wildly from side to side and forward out over his toes.  And while he demonstrated great fine motor skills with his left hand, he carefully avoids using his right.

However at his neuro appointment the neurologist offered him a marble, but only if he took it with his right hand.

Apparently James had never ever seen anything in his life he wanted (to eat) as much as that marble and he was willing to use his right hand to get it if that was the only way it was going to happen.

Then we had to wrestle it away from him as he clung on to it for dear life and attempted to pop it into his mouth.  His grip on his right hand seems just fine when he does use it.

So he bought himself a three month (and hopefully forever) reprieve from going under for a look at the part of his brain that controls gross motor movement.  And I'm supposed to call when he started taking steps on his own, or after his next PT appointment depending on whether his PT wants to wait until he's up and about or get them right away, to get a prescription sent over for orthotics for that wobbly foot.

And as you can probably tell from the start of this post, both his right arm and leg seem perfectly capable of climbing our very steep staircase, so I have a feeling by his next appointment he won't need that MRI at all.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Our Fancy Day

This morning I announced to the kids that we were going to be having a tea party and they immediately started scurrying around the dining room cleaning and getting ready.  Even little James had a tiny baby wipe in his hand and was attempting to wipe down a chair.

I was so impressed that I ventured down to the basement and found the tea set that my grandmother gave me over a decade ago.  It's been carefully wrapped up and hasn't seen the light of day in all those years.  This summer it made the long drive out with us from California to Michigan, but this was the first time I pulled everything out and put it on the tray.

Then we did a little baking.  And decorating.  The kids were getting more and more excited as we went along.

We invited a few dolls downstairs and the party began.

The chocolate cake was wildly popular.

The red frosting went fine with James' red sleeper...

...But it looked slightly more dramatic on the white sweater Patch was wearing.

Here's Maggie convincing James that he needs help with his chocolate cake.  He didn't really mind.  He just wanted to eat all the hearts off the top of the cakes.

After the tea party I hosted, Sadie and Patch continued to play with her little tea set for the entire rest of the afternoon.

Patch was pretty serious about his "tea" (water).

We definitely need to have fancy tea parties more often!

Friday, January 22, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday: A Prayer Request, A Puppy and One Messy Baby


I'll start this one off with a prayer request.  Please say a prayer for a priest that was a big part of the beginning of my journey towards becoming Catholic.  He married Paul and I, baptized Sadie, and was my first confessor and he was the priest for my first communion and confirmation.  

He was having surgery yesterday and things did not go well and his family is asking for prayers.

He is such an amazing joy filled priest, so you if you have a moment please lift him up in prayer when you read this!


James may not be able to walk yet but yesterday I caught him with a chair pushed over to kitchen gate (which is quite tall).  He had somehow managed to climb up onto the chair and was standing on it with a giant grin on his face, looking as though he were about to try go over the top.  

At his last pediatrician's appointment the doctor said he thinks he's braver than he has the coordination to be and I think I agree.

Standing up in his high chair (he can get out of the seat belt) is another big problem lately.
He thinks it's hilarious.


Since I'm writing quick updates I might as well throw in a pregnancy update!  

I'm 16 1/2 weeks and things are moving right along.  I'm feeling fluttery baby kicks this week.  

The morning sickness isn't quite gone, so I'm still weighing less than I was to start with and I'm waiting for food to sound appetizing again.  At all.  

All in all though, the subchorionic hematoma hasn't done anything lately, so I'm really happy about that!
Goal for the week.  Try to actually get in a photo that isn't a selfie so I have some
documentation of this pregnancy.


Lily is now four months old and is getting bigger everyday.  

She also finally seems to be past the worst of the nippiness of teething.  

And while she definitely doesn't spend long stretches of time outside while it's been in the negative numbers with windchill, she also definitely prefers the cold and has been getting her fill of short trips out to enjoy the iciness.  

Apparently the cold also doesn't bother my shorts wearing husband.  It did almost hit 20 that day though.  So...


This post almost didn't get written because all day today I had a migraine.  A horrible, horrible migraine.

Then at bedtime I was tucking Maggie in.  I hung up her mermaid sheet on the top bunk so that she could look at it and dream of mermaids (instead of sleeping under it she likes me to hang it from the bottom of her sister's bed so that she can lay down and make her mermaids "swim" in front of the blue backdrop).  

I sang a little song.  And then I tickled her foot, every so lightly.  

My migraine slowed reflexes hardly saw her little foot shoot out as she giggled hysterically and catch me full force just under the tip of my chin.  It hurt.  A lot.  Like "is my jaw broken" hurt.  

I managed to say goodnight and stumbled out of the room.  

And as the pain of being kicked faded with surprising speed I realized something.  The migraine was totally gone.  I couldn't believe it when I was still completely pain free an hour later.

My migraines almost never go away without going to sleep.

They have said at the osteopathic manipulative medicine appointments I go to for my back that my jaw is super tight... Maybe Maggie has a future as a chiropractor... 


Lily is smitten with James. 

Her relationship with each of the kids continues to develop. With the girls she alternates between being wild with them and being wary of their loud personalities.

With James she is absolutely gentle.  Yesterday, after the chair incident, I caught him "riding" her like she was a tiny pony (she was laying down) and she was completely happy, since she loves to snuggle up close to him.  

Even 1hen she's taking a break from the kids in her kennel he's right there beside her, keeping her company.

And when Maggie's therapy planner was visiting yesterday and was holding James' hands and helping him practice walking back and forth Lily fretted every time they went close to the door, apparently worried that her baby was about to go outside with a "stranger." 

They are definitely two peas in a pod.


Does anyone else feel like winter has just finally arrived (okay you probably especially do if you live on the east coast)?

I kind of like the late start we've gotten.

Two years ago when it stayed below freezing from November until.. around April, I felt like winter would never end.  Now after a balmy November and December I feel more ready for these colder temperatures.

Also after a week of -10 windchill today it 27 felt balmy.  

I actually walked outside with the dog, without a coat on to put her in the yard and thought "This is so nice!  It's warm out!" and then rushed it to see that it was 27 with a windchill down to 19.  

It's funny how much warmer that feels after a rather cold week!  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

He Has Been Listening

Patrick is suddenly full of words.

He's a fountain of non-stop commentary on anything that's going on around him and when I have to hush him, because we're at Mass or someplace else where he needs to be quiet, he'll whisper in a small voice "Okay Mommy.  Sorry Mommy." and manage complete silence for somewhere between fifteen and twenty seconds before he's off again, chattering about Mickey Mouse and Baby Brother and whatever it is that he thinks that Maggie shouldn't be doing.

For the last three years I've more or less figured that Patch's religious education was... non existent.  It isn't that I wouldn't try.  It's that he would never hold still.  He couldn't be bothered to look at the story Bible and little children's prayer books that Sadie adored at the same age.

He'll watch DVDs on the DVD player in the car about the lives of the saints (and yell "Again!" when they end) but the second I tried to read to him or even tell him a story or say a prayer he'd be on his way to the next thing, squirming and wiggling to get off my lap, or rapidly turning the pages of the book and running off if I insisted on staying on one page until I'd read the few short sentences that were printed on it.

Lately that's changed though.  When Sadie does her Faith and Life work on my computer he runs over and shoves himself into the seat between us and clasps his hands and says "Pray!  Pray!"  And he proceeds to sit and listen to her entire lesson, clamoring to help when there's a game, and making his awkward sign of the cross whenever a prayer starts.

Maybe he hasn't been missing everything he's heard.

My favorite time with him lately has been bedtime.  We say an Our Father and a Hail Mary and a Glory Be and the Guardian Angel prayer and then he tells God thankful for all the things he's thankful for.  It's fairly predictable and gets increasingly hilarious as he goes on (and try to imagine Patrick as being pronounced "Patch-ick" for the full affect).

"Thank you God for Patrick.  
Thank you God for Sadie Kate.
Thank you God for Maggie.
Thank you God for Jamesy.
Thank you God for Mommy.
Thank you God for Daddy.
Thank you God for Patrick's House.
Thank you God for Car.
Thank you God for Puppy.
Thank you God for TV.
Thank you God for Nose. Patrick's Nose.
Thank you God for Patrick's eyes.
Thank you God for Patrick's ears.
Thank you God for Patrick's mouth.
Thank you God for Patrick's arms.
Thank you God for Patrick's legs.
Thank you God for Patrick's fingers.
Thank you God for Patrick."

If I don't have him make the sign of the cross then he'll start over at the beginning, although sometimes Patrick's nose makes an appearance five or six times in the midst of the other things he's thankful for as it's apparently pretty important to him.

And each day I have more reasons to believe he hasn't been as oblivious to all those Bible stories and prayers as he's seemed.  He's even started insisting on wearing a little cross everywhere and I've caught him swiping chaplets out of my room (always two, one for him and one for James) a half dozen times this week.

It seems he really has been listening while he's been zooming around getting into everything.  Who'd have thought?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Post with A Flood, A Ceiling Collapse, a Trip to the ER, and a Broken Sewing Machine

One random moment where nothing
dramatic was happening.  Thank goodness!
Have you ever had a week where you're almost afraid to ask "What's going to happen next?"

That's how the last week has been.  I know it's not the worst week ever, or even our worst week ever, but it's been a week of mini disasters.

It started on Thursday when the kids were playing in the girls' room.  The girls' room is almost entirely baby/toddler proofed and I was laying down on Maggie's bed while they ran and jumped and played.

Suddenly James was on the bed next to me.  He'd climbed up onto the lower bunk all by himself.  I carefully watched his movements, ready to catch him if he fell, but after about ten minutes I began to relax while staying near him..  There are lots of things he can't do in the large motor skill area, but he's a pretty good climber and he's usually pretty cautious, sliding over to the edge of the trampoline and sliding off backwards.  I should have remembered though my conversation with his doctor where the pediatrician said "he's braver than he has the motor skills to be..."

He moved just beyond my reach when he tried to launch himself at the bunk bed ladder and fell, hitting his head first on the ladder and then on the floor before I could grab him.

He was fine, other than two large bruises on his forehead, but unknowingly the week of mini disasters had begun.

Disaster #2 truly earned the title.  It began when Paul let me sleep in on Saturday morning.  I woke up when my cell phone rang at 6:50 am, ten minutes before I was going to get up, and Paul asked me if  I was taking a shower or bath.  I had a sinking in my stomach as I confirmed that I was in the bedroom and asked him why he was asking.

Apparently water had begun to pour down into the kitchen and he and Sadie were trying to find the source.

I didn't need to look.  I knew where it was coming from.

James and his two giant bruises...
Our upstairs area is open to Maggie now.  She can go upstairs whenever she wants.  We've installed a series of heavy duty locks, at the very top of the doors, on all of the rooms upstairs.  That way, we can lock all the rooms except the kids' rooms and she can go up and down and we don't have to worry about her breaking into the medicine cabinet or flooding the bathroom.  The hallway is empty.  The staircase is empty.  There's nothing she can hurt or be hurt with.  It gives her the freedom to go upstairs and take a break if she's overwhelmed by noises downstairs.

On that morning though, Paul was carrying James and while he thought he'd gotten the lock to click into place on the bathroom door, it hadn't.

Every morning Maggie goes upstairs and checks all the doors that are locked.  And she immediately caught on that the bathroom wasn't.

Paul got the water turned off.  It was all coming from the sink.  She managed to flood the entire bathroom, including filling every drawer and the tupperware under the sink with the hottest possible water.

I ran downstairs to find the ceiling tiles over the stairs to the basement sagging down at least a foot.  A curtain of water danced across the kitchen, spoiling the food at the edge of the cabinet above the fridge and destroying a huge pile of homeschooling books that I keep on a small out of the way counter.  As I put down a towel I breathed a sigh of relief that at least it didn't reach my sewing machine.  Or so I thought.

Moving two boxes half filled with Christmas decorations we were in the process of taking down, I hoped that nothing had been destroyed and I watched the sagging tile and tried to decide what to do next as Paul tried to stop the water on the floor from coming down from the bathroom.

I tried to push the tile up with broom only to have the broom immediately break through.  As I turned to see what other damage was done I heard the giant tile snap in two as the ceiling caved in.

Sighing I darted past the debris and went down to the basement only to find that the water had continued to rush downwards through the ceiling and was streaming down onto the cabinet where I keep Patch and James' clothes and the clean linens. Everything was soaked in water that was now brown from coming down through the ceiling of a nearly 100 year old house.

The cleanup, which still isn't entirely done, dominated most of the weekend, but in the afternoon I took Maggie upstairs to take a bath.  Baths are her absolute favorite time of the day because it's the time when she can really "be a mermaid."

After an hour of playing I got her out, dried her off and she raced ahead of me to run downstairs to get dressed, with a towel wrapped around her shoulders.

These are the steps... she fell
from the first one that isn't turning to
the last one that isn't turning
at the bottom...
What happened next happened in slow motion.  She slipped on the top step on the straight part of our stairs.  I reached out to catch her and missed and she fell ten steps... all the way to the bottom of the hard wood, uncarpeted stairs, hitting every stair on her back on the way down.

I raced after her and as she reached the bottom she whimpered, jumped up and while I tried to check to see if she was injured, started to dance around the room... giggling.

Anyone who knows Maggie knows that she generally doesn't react normally to pain.  She often laughs when she's hurt.  I looked her over and other than some red marks on her back she seemed fine.  Thankfully she hadn't hit her head or neck.

After getting her into her pajamas and watching her dance around the room, and calling my dad who was an EMT for years and giving him the rundown on what had happened, I decided we'd narrowly avoided the ER.

The next event occurred on Sunday morning.  When Paul works nights he usually lets me sleep until seven and then he goes upstairs and goes to sleep.  He came up to wake me up and I started to pull my hair into a bun and throw on a pair of clogs.  Before I made it to the bottom of the stairs I heard Sadie yell that she didn't want to play that game, followed by hysterics.

I raced downstairs and found out that a certain three year old brother had gotten mad and hit her in the eye with the plastic toy syringe from the little toy doctor's kit.

Thankfully eyes heal fast.
Here she is the next day at the
After two and a half hours it wasn't getting better.  Her vision was blurry at first, now she couldn't open it.  And she was still crying.  So I called the pediatrician's office and they sent her straight to the pediatric emergency room in our town, where she was seen immediately and diagnosed with a corneal abrasion.

Which brings me up to last night when I sat down at my sewing machine to sew.  I'd moved it back upstairs and got it all set up and plugged it in.  And it was then that I saw the water stuck inside the screen of my beautiful Brother LB6800.  Apparently the water did reach it.

There may have been tears.

Okay.  There were tears.  That sewing machine is hugely important around here and I'm very skeptical it's going to come back from the computer being filled with water for four days.

So far Wednesday has been tame and I'm hoping things stay that way... unless we wake up tomorrow morning and discover that the winning Power Ball was sold in Michigan.  I'm totally okay with that sort of excitement... but otherwise I'm hoping for an absolutely boring week without any more surprises!