Friday, February 27, 2009


Tonight I held Lila in my arms, rocking her because she was cranky. We had retreated to her room, drawn the blinds, and rocked. It works like a charm on her. She was wearing only a diaper, resulting from the fact that she spit up all over the outfit she was wearing and peed all over the outfit before that. As I sat there with her and she calmed, the quiet left me to my thoughts, a rarity when you’re the mother of three small children. She was lying on my chest and I noticed how she’s grown since she was born, when she was a tiny newborn that fit so neatly inside my tummy. Seeing her in only her diaper further reminded me of her newborn stage, which inevitably leads me to think about her birth—hands down my proudest accomplishment.

When I was pregnant with Mason, I had romanticized notions about childbirth. Sure, I expected it to be hard. I figured it would be painful, even excruciating. But in the end, I envisioned myself holding a little bundle of joy, sweaty from the effort, but smiling all the same.

This is not how it went down. At all.

Mason was born a purple, floppy baby. He didn’t move, he didn’t cry, he didn’t even breathe. People rushed in faster than you could imagine, working to force air into his tiny body. And as soon as they did, he was whisked away. My first meeting with him was not the picturesque, triumphant scene I had envisioned. He was 14 hours old, I was still on IV medications, and he was in the NICU. Understandably, you have to be super clean to go into the NICU, so you wash your hands outside and go into another area to don a sterile gown before you are granted entry. As I was pushing my hands into the gown I heard him—he was screaming—and I knew, just knew that was my baby crying like that. The nurse wouldn't let me pick him up. She said it would agitate him more. My IV battery died within five minutes of arrival, and the mean nurse sent me back to my room for charging. She was so brutally mean, I was scared to go back. When I finally did, later that evening, Mason was still screaming and there was a new nurse. She suggested I pick him up, and I happily obliged. He immediately stopped crying and for all intents didn't cry again during his NICU stay.

I was ready to go before he was, and I had to leave the hospital without him. This could be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Again, I had the vision of wheeling out to the door with my baby, and the nurse giving us well wishes and bidding us farewell. Instead, Rey and I walked out alone. My pillow was tucked under my arm and I trailed a little behind Rey. A nurse saw me in the parking lot and she knew my story after taking one look at me, experience I guess. She said, “You have to leave your baby here, don’t you.” I nodded and broke down, then and there. She hugged me. I cried more. It was such an act of kindness and understanding—I will never forget it.

When Mason was five days old, we brought him home. And eventually the memories of the experience faded, dulled a little, but the pain will always be tucked away in me somewhere. Soon I was expecting again, and started reinventing my vision of the perfect birth I felt I’d been robbed of.

But the theme of Cole’s birth turned out to be “expect the unexpected.” My labor was quick, very quick. I arrived at the hospital fully dilated and no sooner had I gotten into a room than they were rushing me to the OR for an emergency c-section because his heart rate was dropping.

I had to be put under general anesthesia due to the emergent nature of it all. To go to sleep pregnant and to wake up not pregnant results in feelings not easily explained. I was delighted to hear he was perfectly healthy. It was seven hours before I was to meet him for the first time, merely because they were too busy to bring him to my room. In retrospect I should have been more persistent and demanded they bring him. Hindsight

The c-section was very hard on me. The physical recovery was long and the emotional recovery was even longer. No one understood why I was upset; after all I had a healthy baby. But I was a very unhealthy mother. And mothers matter too. I couldn’t help but think ahead to the third child we had always planned to have. I did not want to experience another c-section, and the unfortunate reality is that in our area, once you have had a c-section it’s tough to avoid another one. I had thought our hospital had a “ban” on VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) but I never cared much because never in a million zillion years did I think I’d deliver Cole by c-section. Soon I learned there was no ban, just a real difficulty in finding a doctor to attend one. And so my research began.

I had no idea when Rey and I would decide to have another baby, but from very shortly after Cole was born I knew I would have a VBAC. I was bound and determined, hell bent, if you will. I just needed to find a doctor to agree with it, and I would do the rest.

Before I knew it, I was pregnant again. The little plus sign showed up on the pregnancy test, and Lila’s genesis was happening via rapidly multiplying cells. Enter Dr. B. My sister was also pregnant at the time, and it was her vanity that led me to him. Ironically, she chose him for her OB care because she was having a planned c-section and she had heard that his closure left the most minimal scar. BUT, it just so happened that he also did VBACs.

At that point, I didn’t care who the doctor was, so long as he had a pulse and did VBACs. But it turns out Dr. B. was hands down, unequivocally the best of the nine OBs I had seen over the course of my three pregnancies (my record number of doctors is another story in itself). He sat with me for hours during my labor, reassuring me when she would have heart decels, telling me that they were perfectly normal and she was fine. He was wonderful. Lila’s birth was perfect. I finally got to live my dream of holding my new baby moments after her birth.

My accomplishment was quickly obvious inasmuch as I was the talk of the nurses in the hospital. I got several “Oh you’re the VBAC mom!” comments, and lots of questions from them ranging from “How did you get the doctor to agree to it?” to “Weren’t you scared?” Both questions struck me as equally dumb. But I felt great. Happy, elated… and a little sad for my boys about how their first few days on earth went down.

As I held my baby girl tonight, I watched the rise and fall of her belly and she slept in my arms. I reflected and relived all the emotions from the days each of my three children entered this world. They were all so vastly different. I honor the painful and the proud, traumatic and the triumphant, the sweet and the sour. Which trust me, is not an easy thing.

But nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


My hip has really been hurting a lot lately. I'm not sure if it's from running, spinning, weight training, all of the above.... but it hurts. So in addition to my regularly scheduled yoga classes, I've been spending time at home trying to ease my misery.

Mason comes along to the gym a lot and is very aware and interested in the fact that I exercise. And now that I think about it, go me for setting a good example for him in this respect. But I digress.

Tonight I was stretching and contorting, again, trying to ease the misery. And Mason wanted to get in on the action. So I decided to teach him some simple yoga poses. It ended up being a super fun little activity for us. And the kid's not half bad.

Here's his down dog...

His up dog, with a little Lila interference....

His tree...

And his triangle...

He did a pretty impressive forward bend too, but I didn't get a picture. Now if only I could figure out how to be as flexible as a four year old...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today's high was 77 degrees. In FEBRUARY. Just further proof that Florida is the best place on earth.

(Now, no one hold the above statement against me this summer when I'm cussing and swearing because it's 95 degrees, 100 percent humidity and I'm swimming through the air it's so thick. )

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nine Months

Today Lila is nine months old. Nine months in the womb (although the 40 weeks of pregnancy techincally equates to 10 months, I deliver early, so I won't give myself that extra month!) and now she has been out for as long as she was in.

In celebration, here are 9 Things to Love About Lila:

1. When she first wakes up in the morning, she's the happiest creature on the planet Earth.

2. She has a delightful little squeal that can sometimes be confused for a scream, but it's a squeal, really. It's ear piercing and obnoxious to some, but I adore it.

3. She loves loves LOVES to see things be thrown. It makes her giggle uncontrollably. It's a good thing she has two older brothers--things are often thrown in our house.

4. She sleeps with a little pink bunny from Bunnies by the Bay. The boys have their Ruffies, and Lila has her Bunny. And she loves it completely.

5. She loves her binky, but I'm pretty sure she loves sucking on her sock more.

6. She can put both feet in her mouth. At the same time. Now that's what I call flexibility.

7. She seems to be missing the "TV Junkie" gene that her brothers have. She has zero interest in the TV. This is a good thing.

8. If she is tired, so help you you better get her to her bed. Fast. Or

9. She looks dang good in a headband. See below for proof!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out

Rey recently got a promotion (yay for Rey!!). Tomorrow is his old boss Ed's last day before he transfers to the soon to open Siesta Key property (which is beyond gorgeous, should you happen to have a few hundred thousand dollars lying around I highly suggest you buy a timeshare there).

Ed has a sweet tooth, so of course I am pouncing on the opportunity to bake something, eat a bit, and send it away before I can overinduldge. And I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying my new hobby of cupcake baking. My Valentine's Cupcakes (seen at the end of this post) were quite a success!

Tonight's cupcake of choice--Cookie Dough Cupcakes. I can't think of anything in the world more wonderful that cookie dough and cupcakes!

Here's a pic of the inside.

They are particularly delicious when fresh from the oven and still a bit warm and gooey on the inside.

All I can say is I'm glad Rey is taking these suckers to work with him tomorrow morning. I don't think I can be trust alone with them!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Current Threat Level is Orange

Sometimes things are so funny that you simply have to blog about them.

Here’s a secret about me—I love to read newspapers online and try to make time for it daily. It’s my own little way of nourishing my brain cells when my world is otherwise consumed by motherhood.

Today I was perusing the NY Times web site when I came across this little gem of an article. It references the lovely toy you see above, an airport security checkpoint Playmobil toy. All you moms out there, especially those of boys I’d imagine, are probably quite familiar with Playmobil, and many days my living room is a veritable graveyard of Playmobil guys. The more popular toys are those involving pirates, knights, or dinosaurs, but they also have many “real life” toys to help kids use pretend and imagination to understand things. This is intended to be the latter.

At first it struck me as odd to have a security checkpoint toy. Then upon reading the article it struck me as hilariously funny. (My favorite part of this toy is that the little guys don’t have removable shoes—that’s the quintessential checkpoint P.I.T.A.!! What kind of checkpoint toy doesn’t include guys with removable shoes?)

Soon my laughter turned to sadness that it’s become such a part of our lives and society that a toy like this is even relevant and that “security checkpoint” is such a part of the lexicon. But then I went to and started reading people’s reviews of the toy, and my laughter returned.

Here are a few samplings of the funny reviews in case you’re too short on time to root through them all like I did. But if you need a chuckle, feel free to head on over and check them out for yourself. There’s something for everyone!

“This toy would be a lot more realistic with about 350 people standing in line for an average of an hour. It still makes a nice set with the interrogation room.”

“This toy is a wonderful start but...I think expansion packs would really increase the enjoyment. Could you imagine the fun kids could have with the "Mother forced to drink bottled breast milk to prove it's not explosive" expansion, the "What do you mean I'm the No-Fly List?" and especially the "Body Cavity Search, Wait, What?" set.”

“Thank you Playmobil for allowing me to teach my 5-year old the importance of recognizing what a failing bureaucracy in a ever growing fascist state looks like.”

Another fun part of my trip to was reading the manufacturer's description of the toy:

"The woman traveler stops by the security checkpoint. After placing her luggage on the screening machine, the airport employee checks her baggage. The traveler hands her spare change and watch to the security guard and proceeds through the metal detector. With no time to spare, she picks up her luggage and hurries to board her flight!"

Okay, I can't believe they made the madness that is going through security sound joyous and fun!!

And seriously, that Playmobil person is a woman???

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be Mine

Today being Valentine's Day, this post will have a lotta Love in it.

For starters, I love writing about my day--it gives me the chance to relive it again! (I guess this only works when it was a good day, which (despite a nagging cold I've been fighting) today was!

The day began with Rey making pancakes. For a V-day twist he made them in the shape of a heart. I was impressed. He's generally not a great cook by any stretch, but the man can make a mean pancake.

Next, it was time to suit up Lila in her Valentine's Day gear. I tell ya, having a girl is a lot different than having a boy when a wardrobe is involved. When it comes to dressing the boys, it's "what color polo shirt should they wear with their khaki shorts today?" Makes life easy. With a girl, you have the dress, the bloomers, the tights, (sometimes) cute shoes, the obligatory adorable headband... etc. It could go on and on. But dang, she looks cute. She IS cute. : ) I love her.

After Lila's morning nap, we headed to Waterside for lunch at CPK. Daddy loved on Cole...

Mommy loved on Mason....

And Lila loved on her Turtle.

The boys love a trip to Waterside because it means they get to run around and look at the fountains. Annoys the old people, but hey, we live here year round, thus giving me a sense of entitlement.

On Thursday night I made 48 cupcakes for Rey to take to work. I saved us a couple for after dinner tonight. They were THE BEST CUPCAKES E-V-E-R. (If I do say so myself.) We all loved them. I am only sorry that you cannot taste one. Please refrain from trying to take a bite out of your screen as you view these photos.

The have a filling of cream cheese icing and a mini Oreo cookie. Uh huh.

And here are some sweet little boys enjoying their sweets.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Guest Appearance

THIS is Olivia.

Isn't she c.u.t.e? She's my 9 month old niece (she is 4.5 weeks older than Lila, in case you were interested in the math).

She bears a striking resemblance to her six year old brother Carson (and by striking, I mean you could confuse the two's baby pictures save the fact that Livi wears pink a lot and has earrings). Aside: I wish my kids bore "striking" resemblances to one another. They have a few subtle characteristics between the three of them, but really, none of them look too similar. End of aside.

I love to take pictures of her.

She is just.... much...


Thursday, February 12, 2009

I find this disturbing

Unless you live under a rock, you've no doubt heard of the woman who has recently given birth to octuplets conceived through in vitro fertilization. The story gets more interesting when the world learned that not only was she a single woman, she has six other kids AND is unemployed. Commence debate.

The ultra conservative debate that "all children are a blessing" even though it's really cramping their style that she's unmarried and on public assistance. The ultra liberal think this woman is nutso for wanting so many kids.

I just think it's disgusting that she's exploiting them in this fashion. I had a NICU baby, one not nearly as sick as these eight are, and I could never fathom putting their pictures on a website touting that I accept "Visa Mastercard or American Express." Good golly, (and really, I try not to judge people, I really really do) but what has the world come to? Go ahead, have 14 kids! And then politely request the rest of the world to support them so you can remain unemployed and provide "herself" for her kids, instead of, oh I don't know, FOOD? But wait! She's already getting $490 a month in food stamps to help with that! (Which is fine, people need help from time to time, that's what it's there for, I am a Democrat after all! However, it's also a good clue that it wouldn't be a smooth move to have in vitro and implant six more embryos, I'm just sayin'.)

Call me bitter, but my husband works upwards of 60 hours a week to provide for our family and the choices we made to have each of our children. I surely don't have the gall to strike up an ostentatious web site. I think we all need to be accountable for our decisions and responsible for our own children. The economy is in the crapper and many people are struggling to support their own kids, without being asked to help this woman support hers.

And if you're really inclined to donate money to someone today, I'd suggest March of Dimes, a wonderful organization I hold close to my heart that works to prevent premature birth and birth defects.

I'm stepping off my soap box now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Netflix: Bringing Families Together

It was someone's bright idea (either mine or my beloved's) to get the kids a movie on Netflix. This way, we could give movies a "test drive" before we drop the $20 on them (although Amber will be quick to hook you up with the tidbit that movies are $11 at Walmart during the week they are released--it's true, I can vouch). "Horton Hears A Who!" recently came out on DVD, so it went on the ol' queue. It made it way to the top and arrived in our mailbox. Rey's obsessed with the Netflix queue and insists on a quick turnaround time for movies so that he's getting his money's worth. And so it came to pass that last night would become Movie Night.

Lila went to bed early, and she did not complain. I think she's edging towards a 6:30 (!!!!!) bedtime because she's is a completely cranky, fussy utter nightmare of a mess starting at about 6pm.

The boys got an early bath in preparation for Movie Night, and I took on the task of popping popcorn. It was tough, let me tell ya.

Cole was so excited about the prospect of the popcorn that he had to make sure he Ruffie got to check it out.

The boys piled on the couch, along with their pillows, Bigger Blankies, Little Blankies (of which they each have two a piece), Ruffies, Cole's "Poster Ruffie" (Imposter Ruffie, looks like the real thing, but Cole's no fool), two Scoobie Doos (courtesy of Sebastian Patrick), oh, and Mason's Tex Rex Dinosaur which has somehow made it's way to be part of the bedtime posse. There was little room left for me and Rey.

The kid were excited about their popcorn. I thought about tossing some M&Ms in because that's a favorite trick of mine, but I didn't want to go spoiling these boys, after all.

The movie was good, we all four laughed, and I think Mason and Cole enjoyed the special treatment and time with mom and dad. Lila, bless her heart, usually commands the attention of one or both of us and the boys are required to be a little more self sufficient at times.
So Movie Night was a hit, and we'll be having a repeat performance in the future. Does anyone know when they next kid's movie is getting released?

Saturday, February 7, 2009


One thing about having three kids is that, for better or worse, there is never a dull moment.

We call Cole the evil genius, and for good reason. If only we could find a way to harness his powers for good! Yesterday he decides to pull all the toys out of this storage basket.

And then he proceeds to get the bathroom stool and climb inside. I was looking all over for him and saw the basket do a little shake. This is what I found. It's so hard not to laugh at this boy.

It must have looked super fun, because Mason decided to join him.

They were laughing and having a superb time. That is until fun time was over and I made them clean up the massive mess they made.

Today we invented a new game. It's called "Run Away From the Camera So Mommy Can't Take Your Picture." Everyone should try it.

There was some shyness:

LOTS of giggling:

A minor injury:

And a quick rebound, back to the giggling:

Some Hide and Seek:

And lastly, posing with The Ruffies:

When all that was over, we played "Tickle Lila" since we were letting the good times roll.