Friday, January 21, 2011

Something Lost

On the morning Casey turned 8, he reminded me immediately it was his birthday (of course, I knew). I made him wait until 9 to jump on our bed and wake up Jason.

We talked about the day he was born. We contrasted the weather here-- sunny, blue skies, in the upper-70s-- with the weather when he was born-- a snow storm. He knows all about how we were on vacation in Florida when we learned that he was going to be born, so all Jason had were shorts, which he wore.

We told Casey how amazing it was to hold him and feed him his first bottle. How happy we were to meet him. How important he was-- and still is-- to us.

We told him how much we love him and how lucky we feel to be his parents. (He told us he knows. If you know Casey, this is no surprise at all.)

After our morning conversation, I thought about Casey's Story. I thought about how much love was in that room when he was born. How much anxiety and hope for our future. How I knew I was lucky the moment I held him. And I wondered how Marcie felt, sitting on our bed and hearing Casey's Story. It's not lost on me how much we don't know about Marcie's arrival in the world.

Of course, Marcie has her own story; it just doesn't involve the day she was born. And thinking about that, I felt incredibly sad. Like somehow she's lost something and I can't ever help her get it back. I'm not sure that Marcie feels like she's lost something. And I don't think Marcie will feel less loved as a result. (I certainly hope she won't.)

I don't have any pithy, uplifting words to express how I resolved the issue in my own mind. Not sure I ever will. Or that there needs to be a resolution. For all I know, I'm thinking way more about this than Marcie (or Tate) ever will. I actually kind of hope so.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Tate discovered them this week.
At least the water was clean.
Well, as clean as toilet water can be, of course. (Don't worry-- we washed his hands thoroughly.)

He hasn't figured out how to lift the lids, so that's our solution. For now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

And Then He Was 8

This weekend I learned how birthday parties can be like weddings.
Big crowds are over-rated.
They're about the experience and not the gifts.
Organization is key.
It helps to have a "wedding planner" there to help out and run things.
Oh, and keep your fingers crossed you're healthy on the big day.

When Casey said he wanted a sleepover, we figured it would be a good way to cut down on the giant birthday parties of yesteryear. But Casey's social circle runs pretty far-- we narrowed the list to 10 invitees, and that excluded his local cousin (only because my brother and sister-in-law said they'd prefer it that way). We figured, on a three-day weekend, odds were that not everyone would come. We were wrong. But not too worried.

We ran into a little glitch with the cake. I wasn't going to make one this year-- but we couldn't find a Super Mario cake in the local stores, so I found myself baking the day before his party.

I didn't want to go hog-wild on the party favors, and I found some pretty inexpensive dart guns and supplemented with a pack of sugar-free bubble gum. I labeled everything (darts, guns, gum) with a sharpee and put together a zip-lock bag for each boy.

At around noon, I was feeling a little off. I ate a slice of pizza and laid down for a nap. When I woke at 2, I felt worse. Jason had warned me he thought the pizza might be bad because his stomach was bothering him, too. I tried standing and walking around and cleaning-- but in between bouts of doing so, I had to lay down. Around 4pm, my stomach felt strong enough for a drive to the store and to my brother's to pick up some xbox remote controls.

At 5pm, the boys started to arrive. They were all prompt. The fresh air felt good, but I still felt weak and ill. At 6:30, it was time to serve the hot dogs, hamburgers, salad and chips. Thankfully, one of my good friends decided to stick around and tag-team with her husband because their son wasn't going to spend the night. She served the food while I went and laid down. I was too woozy to stand.

At 7:30 we did cake and ice cream. I served the food sitting down. We put Tate down at 8pm and started a movie. Thankfully, my good friend's husband (also a good friend of ours) was there to help keep the boys in check. I laid down for the night.

At around 11:30pm, Jason came in and said he needed help (remember he hadn't been feeling well either). Casey had just thrown up and he and the bathroom needed to be cleaned. He'd had too many Doritos.

At around 1:30am, I could still hear the boys so I went to check on them. One was actually walking around because he still couldn't sleep.

At 3:00am, the dog woke me up. He'd peed in my room. I took him outside. The boys were all asleep, but a couple stirred.

At 6:30am, I woke to the sounds of the boys playing in the TV room and wandered out momentarily. I felt better, but not great.

At 7:30am, two of the boys came in and asked for breakfast. And I totally rallied. When the last child left at 11am, sitting on the couch, I put my head on my hand and promptly fell asleep. I slept hard until Tate woke up from his nap. And I seem to be feeling much better. I still feel weak and tired and groggy. But I can sit up. And I don't feel like I want to throw up anymore.

The boys were about what we expected. It was like hosting a fraternity party without the beer. They were loud, crude, and stinky. They were careless (one child got hit in the eye with a dart during their games). They argued over video games; they challenged each other to Kinect soccer; they worked together to make it through the Super Mario levels. They loved the gum. They devoured their breakfast food after a night of hard play. And I think, all in all, they had a good time.

Casey sure did. And that was the point, after all, wasn't it?

Sorry for the lack of photos-- I'd like to say it's the result of me being so involved I didn't have time to snap many. But it's actually a product of me being too sick to follow the kids around. I don't even have one of the whole gang watching the movie or anything. Shame on me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby Steps

Tate took his first steps on Christmas morning, so I could be with him. And cherish the moment. And, of course, document it on my iphone. But unless we set him down and coax him, he hasn't had much interest in walking. And that's been fine with us-- after all, walking means more confidence and that leads to climbing, and you can see where I'm going.

Tonight when I came home, after he made a crawling bee-line for me, I put him down in the kitchen so I could put batteries in Marcie's glo-mate. He pushed himself up and walked across the entire kitchen to me. It was amazing.

Tate has other big changes coming soon.

We finally have a surgery date to repair his cleft palate. February 11. We'll be in the hospital for two nights with him. As you might imagine, I have quite a lot of anxiety about this surgery. It means putting my littlest boy under anesthesia. We, like other parents who have gone through this before us, are pinning all our hopes (for now) on the success of this surgery. There's kind of a lot at stake for little Tate.

Please keep him in your thoughts.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Santa's Packaging

The other day, after running around outside, up and down the side yard of our home, Marcie turned to Jason last week and said with wonderment something like:

"Dad, Santa unwrapped our toys on the side yard before he brought the gifts down the chimney!"

Ahem. Well, there you have it . . .

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

2010 was a year of many changes.

We said some good-byes:

  • To the kids' preschool, which one or more of our children attended for almost half a decade.
  • To Aunt Megan and Uncle Timour, who moved east.
  • To several fish and a couple of frogs.
  • To our dining room (which became our home office).
  • To watering our backyard grass, which kept dying anyway.
  • To day care and after school care.
  • To a whole income (gulp).

We said some big, important hellos:

  • To the arrival of our nephew/cousin Kai.
  • To severl fish and a couple frogs.
  • To kindergarten.
  • To Tate.

We flew a lot of miles (more than 20,000 miles in the air in 2010).
We experienced an up-close-and-personal 4th of July Fireworks show.
We danced down the Pearl River in China.
And we bowled our way through southern Ohio.

We had some colds and fevers and a couple trips to urgent care (but none to the ER!).
We had some cuts and scrapes and a few teeth removed.
We had visits from the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

And we've come out of 2010 a very rich family. Because we've got each other.
That makes us some of the luckiest people in the world.

Here's to a healthy and happy 2011!

January 1, 2011: Lila, Marcie, Tate, Casey & Lucas (after our annual Rockin' New Year's Eve kids-and-adult party)