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Archive for the ‘husbands’ Category

It’s interesting that Audrey, Jane and I never discuss our blog posts prior to posting them.

It’s not some Pinks & Blues policy…

I guess it’s just that we spend a great deal of time planning, organizing, researching, discussing, emailing, and meeting with so many people about our Pinks & Blues reviews, giveaways and features that, well, the blog part is the one very personal and special perspective that is all our own. Until it is posted, of course.

And just as I look forward to opening and reading so many fellow bloggers’ posts each day, I look forward to reading my daughters’ post too. I love reading blog posts. They are like personal letters from great friends. They give me eyes to see other horizons…

As Lord Chesterfield wrote, “Few men are of one plain, decided color; most are mixed, shaded, and blended; and vary as much from different situations, as changeable silks do from different lights.”

I see these different and beautiful shades and lights when I read my daughters’ posts…

So today I glimpsed at the “butterflies” of Audrey’s first spark of love with Matt. And now I will write about the unexpected love-at-first-sight possession that my husband had (and still has) on me from a hot summer day many, many years ago…

We were both teaching summer school. You know, the high school kids who didn’t quite accomplish what was supposed to happen all year and then are forced to come to this place each day for several weeks to learn the lessons during the hottest days of the year. Barry, my future husband, was (let’s just say it) my supervisor. It was my first real teaching job. I had heard wonderful things about this guy, but as of my first day of summer school, I hadn’t met him. I was told by many fellow teachers that Barry had an amazing way to connect with kids… primarily through sports.

But what I didn’t know was that he would be coming to summer school on that first morning wearing shorts.

So… as I waited in the very large cafeteria for my classroom assignment and then kids, I looked around nervously. I was fresh out of college. Most of these kids were bigger than me. None of them wanted to be there. And I began to think, “I don’t want to be here either…”

And then I saw them.

Legs. Well, not just legs. The most gorgeous hunk of legs that ever walked. I couldn’t see who was attached to these legs because a petition hid the upper part of the man. (I assumed they belonged to a man!)

I can’t get too descriptive here because I know my children will be reading this…

But my heart pounded as these legs took entire possession of me.

Within seconds, the man emerged from behind the half-petition, and ah… the upper half was conveniently just as perfect as the legs.

This was my summer school supervisor. This was the man with the amazing connection with kids, particularly kids in troubling situations. This was the man who would become my husband less than one year later… and the father of my children and grandfather of my 7, soon to be 9 grandchildren.

Audrey, thank you for your post today. Thank you for bringing my glorious first spark to life again.

And I would love to hear from the rest of you out there today! Make your own day by writing your first-spark story down and sharing it with the world! Sign Mr. Linky below if you decide to join in!

- Sharon

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It happened last night.

William asked me, “How did you and Daddy meet?”

Funny how that moment changed the course of my life, and that moment is why William is actually here…

So I told him.

October 28th, 1998. I was a Junior at Brown University, Matt was a Senior. It was early in the morning, somewhere around 8am… and I was drinking a cup of coffee on the main green, waiting to head to my first class.

And then, there he was.

Matt was leaving class. I still remember that he was wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans. Funny how those things stay in your mind. I can see him like it was yesterday.

We had known of each other, but never actually met before.

Well… this day, the fates had a plan. (Thank you, fates!)

Our eyes happened to meet and we both sort of did that polite smile and wave. And then the weirdest thing happened. I got butterflies in my stomach. I know it sounds corny… but I did. I actually got butterflies. (Good ones, believe… very, very good ones.)

And then the best part happened. He came over to me to say hello and we started talking. And the talking led to a dinner invite that night. And that dinner turned into more dinners. And then into more and more dates. And the rest, as they say… is history.

Ahh… even as I’m writing this I’m smiling. That first moment. That first fated moment. It changed our lives.

And having my son ask me last night how we met, it brought it all back to me. I just get so busy with the kids and work and keeping up with the house and my friends… that it was nice to go back to October 28th, 1998 today. (You know, when school and having a boyfriend were the only things on my mind!) And just bask in those first moments of falling in love with the man who is now his Daddy.

So the first thing I did last night after the boys went to bed was plan a date night with Matt. Just him and me. Here I am pregnant with our 4th son, and I literally do not remember the last time Matt and I went out to dinner, just the two of us. You know… just to laugh and talk and catch-up on things. And laugh some more.

So my William, thank you for asking me this question. Little did you know that that innocent question made my night. And made me take out all the old photos of Daddy and me last night.

(That’s one thing my son has yet to learn about his Mommy… I’m the ever-romantic. Oh yes, I love me some romance!)

- Audrey

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The awful place

Yesterday I had to go back to that awful place.

Well, I guess it’s unfair to call the place itself awful… it’s just the things that have happened in my life around that place have been.

Let me take a step back.

In January 2001 I was at the movie theater with my then-boyfriend (not my now-husband, thank goodness) when I received a frantic call from my mom. Our 12-year-old dog, Cracker, had not been himself all day, and she and my dad had brought him to the vet. That vet had advised them to go immediately to the emergency veterinary hospital. And that’s when my mom called me.

I remember having to leave the movie theater in a hurry, and first having to drop my boyfriend’s sister and cousins off before we could rush to the hospital.

I don’t recall all the details of that day. I was distraught over my sick “brother” and I think in a bit of a state of shock. Cracker and his littermate Carmel were my first dogs ever, and the thought of losing one of them was almost too much to take. But we did lose Cracker that day. The vet told us that we could take him home and let him live uncomfortably for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, or we could put him to sleep there, to go in peace with all of us surrounding him. We chose the latter.

The next day we went back to the hospital to take Cracker’s body home with us. My dad had nearly broken his back digging a hole in our backyard, and we buried Cracker lovingly there, placing a rock and a squirrel statue above his resting place so we would always know where to find him.

(When my parents moved from that house 4 years later, they nervously told the new owners that our two dogs were buried in the yard – Carmel had passed away one year after Cracker, and my father had again dug a hole in order to place Carmel next to his brother. Luckily, the new owners were dog lovers and promised to honor our dogs’ resting places.)

After we lost Cracker so suddenly (even though he was almost 13, he had been very active up to that point), I had hoped to never have to go to that emergency vet hospital any time soon, if not never again. We luckily didn’t have to return there with Carmel. When it was his time to go (he was almost 14 and had basically lost his ability to use his hind legs), we had a vet come to our home to put him to sleep peacefully. Although it was incredibly heartbreaking for us, we knew he had gone at his time, and in a peaceful manner.

And then last June one of my worst nightmares came true – and it was back to that awful place.

I remember it as clear as day. I had been worried for a few of weeks that Bismarck didn’t seem like himself. I had brought him to the vet a couple of weeks before, but the tests came back normal. But that Friday morning, June 1st, I just knew something was wrong. I. just. knew.

I called the vet and was able to get Bismarck in that morning. Since my mom knew how nervous I was, she came with me. As the vet examined him, commented on how anemic he was, and asked if he had recently eaten any rat poison, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I knew there wasn’t a chance he had eaten rat poison. And I knew that whatever was wrong was serious.

After we waited about a half hour for Bismarck’s bloodwork results to come back, they showed that his white blood cell count was extremely low. The vet told us to go immediately to the emergency vet hospital. And from my experience with Cracker, I knew that wasn’t a good sign.

On the drive over, I called Steve at work and told him to meet us there right away. He quickly arranged to have his colleagues cover the rest of his classes, and he rushed to be with us. When he walked into that cold, sterile room my mom and I were sitting in with Bismarck, we locked eyes and tried to comfort each other. We tried to be strong for Bismarck, but what we had heard already just was not encouraging.

We had to leave Bismarck at the hospital that night, and having to leave there without our Big Boy, and thinking of him alone in his cage trying to be brave, was just too difficult. Steve and I stayed over my parents’ house that night since they live about 10 minutes from the hospital, just to be as close to Bismarck as possible. We took turns comforting each other that night.

If you followed our blog last summer, you already know that Bismarck fought and fought so bravely, but lost his battle with gastrointestinal lymphoma in 8 short weeks. I knew we did everything we could to help him. Chemo treatments, holistic vet visits, a new diet… I would have cut off my right arm if someone told me it would help him.

In those 8 weeks, Steve and I had to make many trips back to the emergency vet hospital, for Bismarck’s chemo treatments, to have them check out his swollen leg… and ultimately, on the night that we were told his cancer had spread and keeping him alive much longer wouldn’t be fair to him.

We wanted Bismarck to pass peacefully in our home, in our arms. So the vet gave us the phone numbers of a few people who we could call. I can’t even begin to describe how awful it was to walk out of that hospital with Bismarck, knowing it would be his last night on earth. How awful it was to have to call up the man who will come to your home the next day to put your dog to sleep. How awful it was to have to watch my dad (with Steve’s help this time) have to dig another hole, this time in my backyard, in which to lay my Big Boy to rest.

(This, by the way, is one of the reasons I get so bothered by people who insist on making light of those of us who consider our dogs our children. So if you’re one of those people, please ask yourself next time you want to say, “It’s not the same. You just don’t know”… What do I hope to gain from comments like these? Why do I feel the need to prove what constitutes being a mom? OK, stepping off soapbox now.)

I still don’t fully understand how, but we have made it through these past nine months since losing Bismarck. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, and talk to him. I he watches over all of us, and I know he sent Seth to us. He knew that Ryder needed a brother to play with and that mama and daddy needed a snuggle boy.

But back to that awful place known as the emergency vet hospital, which we had to return to yesterday.

For over a month now, Ryder has been limping on her right front leg a little. It’s an inconsistent and intermittent limp, one that will appear out of nowhere and then disappear. But she sometimes after she wakes up from a nap or after she runs after the ball a lot, we will notice the limp more.

Since our whole ordeal with Bismarck, I have become perhaps a bit overly cautious about everything. So I have brought her to three different vets, plus our holistic vet. No one could really give a clear answer, so we made an appointment with a surgeon for Ryder to get some X-rays done on her leg.

Of course, the place we had to go for this appointment yesterday was the emergency vet hospital.

I had not been back there with Steve since the night we took Bismarck home for the last time. We had to go back into one of those cold, sterile rooms to meet with the surgeon.

We explained to the tech who met with us before the surgeon came in that we try to cover all the bases because of what we went through with Bismarck. And that is when my strong, don’t-let-your-guard-down husband broke down, probably overcome with emotions that came to the surface just being back at that awful place.

When it was time for the surgeon to take Ryder back for her X-rays, Steve and I smiled in remembering how brave Bismarck always tried to be for us. He would get taken back to get his treatments, and we just knew he was trying to comfort us by putting on a brave face. He was just, simply, him.

Meanwhile, poor Ryder, our little baby girl, looked back at us like, “I can’t believe you two are behind this!”

After the X-rays were finished, we met with the surgeon, who told us he couldn’t find anything wrong. There is no more arthritis in her arm than is normal for a Labrador her age (she’s 6). Maybe it’s just a kind of “ache and pain” she has, like everyone gets as they get older.

When he brought Ryder back out to us, she was still a bit groggy from being put under anesthesia for the X-rays. And she was not happy with me or Steve.

We made sure Ryder got her rest yesterday, and even Seth left her alone and didn’t take any of her toys.

We are hoping that her leg just needs a little rest once in a while from all the running she does, chasing after tennis balls.

I really do not want to have to go back to that awful place any time soon.

- Jane

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OK. There’s a problem.

Game Systems

We have an XBOX.

My husband got it as a gift from a friend about 4 months ago. He loves enjoys playing at night when the boys are sleeping and I’m off upstairs either sleeping, reading or blogging.

Not a problem. Right?

But now… there’s a problem.

William’s addicted.

Yes, addicted.

Hi. My name is Audrey. And my 3 1/2 year old son is addicted to Lego Star Wars on XBOX.

When I say, ADDICTED… I mean that he actually played yesterday from noon till 4pm. And then from 6pm till 9pm. He knows how to turn the game system on. Maneuver through the start-up menus. Click on his proper saved game. And play.

I don’t even know how to do this.

Yesterday when I came home from work around 4pm, William was on the couch playing. It was a beautiful 60 degree day… so I told him to turn the game off and put his sneakers on so we could go outside and play some baseball.

I got a “No.” Actually… I got a “No, Mommy. I’m almost past this level. I need a few more minutes.”

WHAT? OH, freaking NO!

I made him turn the game off, get off the couch and put his sneakers on for some OUTSIDE playing.

And you know what, he had a BLAST outside running around, playing baseball, jumping off our front rock, helping me plant 2 flowers and chasing his brothers.

This is what being 3 is all about.

So XBOX… ahhh, XBOX.

I know my husband loves playing you at night. But he’s a grown man. He works. He’s an amazing husband. An amazing father. And playing for an hour or two when we’re all upstairs doesn’t interfer with our family life at all.

But you’re not about to suck in my son. No, freaking way.

I am now ready to battle you myself… not by actually playing, but by turning my son away.

(Especially when Alexander now grabs his Leap Frog controller and thinks he’s playing too. Oh… no… you’re not getting him too!)

I wish we had never even bought the “special” Star Wars game for William in the first place! Shame on me… but now, I’m taking the control back. We thought it would be cool to see him play every now and then… but you’re getting him, you’re getting him real good.

And now… well, let’s just say I’ve got my own mama-powers.

Watch out! You don’t want to see me mad, especially while I’m pregnant!

- Audrey

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Part 1 –

Monday night Matt and I took William and Alexander out to Target to get some birthday presents for Benjamin. Even though he’s turning 1 and I know he doesn’t know it’s his birthday… I still wanted to go without him to get the boys excited for his special day!

We found our toys for Benjamin in record time.

But then… we needed to stop by the Thomas Train section.

Then the Leap Frog games.

Then the Playskool toys.

And – of course – Hot Wheels, Spiderman, Transformers, Tonka and all the other car/truck/train/”bad guy” sections there were.

Trying to pry them away from the Toy Department was like prying a bee away from honey… nearly impossible.

Check out was crazy because, well… they were playing “swords” with the plastic buckets we got them. Yes, the buckets were the swords.

While in line a family with 2 girls were behind us. The girls were sitting in the cart amused, but slightly horrified by William and Alexander’s “playing.” They were sitting there each holding bathing suits. Quiet. Calm. And reserved.

The mother of the girls smiled at me and asked if I knew what I was having… to which I responded, “Yes, a baby boy.” She said, “Wow… you’re going to have your hands full.” To which I said, “Oh yes, and I have another one at home.” My husband grabbed me hand and smiled.

On the way to the car the boys wanted to race each other. Then proceeded to wrestle each other into the car. And then play the “I was in my car seat first game” over and over again.

For the first time every, my husband whispered to me, “God bless you. God bless you. 4 boys, under 4.”

Part 2 –

Last night we were all sitting around the living room while William and my husband played Star Wars Lego on XBOX.

(XBOX usage is a post within itself… will get back to this topic at another time!)

As we were all lounging around… William took one look at my feet and stated, “Your toenails are disgusting Mommy.”

(To which they are. I give him credit for noticing.)

But to which I responded, “Gee, thanks William. That’s not very nice to say to someone.”

In his 3-year old innocence he asked me, “Why?”

And through trying not to laugh (since seriously, my toenails are horrible looking) I explained to him why it isn’t nice to tell someone that they look “disgusting.”

After we chatted and he continued playing his game, I went into the kitchen to make myself something to eat… which is when I heard my husband take over the conversation.

As I was leaning against the kitchen wall, I heard it all go down…

He whispers to William, “Buddy… you never tell Mommy anything other than how beautiful she is. There’s nothing about your Mommy that is disgusting. She’s a beautiful Mommy, with beautiful everything, even toenails.” (Again, total lie about the toenails, but I’ll give me props!)

Ahh… my hero. My handsome-husband-hero!

(It’s a good thing I’m already pregnant with baby #4… !)

- Audrey

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… to get all 3 boys and Mom and Dad together on the couch for a photo?

Somehow maneuvering a way to get Alexander away from my Nana’s 89th birthday cake.

Getting Benjamin to sit still for 2 seconds.

Matt and I sitting down… together.

Keeping the climbing boys away from my growing tummy… and Henry!

And deciding that William will not give up that laptop – and we’re okay with it being in the photo. :)

A photo of the 5 of us. All together.

Ahhh… priceless.

- Audrey

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I can hardly say Triathlon, never mind DO one.

But I am. Doing one, that is.

Well, a mini one. Or more technically, a “Sprint” Triathlon.

On the average, a Sprint Triathlon is about a half mile swim. A 10-15 mile bike ride. And then, to cap it off, a 5K run.

OK.

I am not an athlete. I am not a swimmer. A cyclist. Nor a runner. Especially not a runner.

Oh, God! How did this happen to me!

I’ll blame it on menopause. That feeling that I can conquer anything. That feeling of being 11 years old… you know, when a boy tells you that you can’t climb or run or throw as “good” as he can. And you just gotta prove you can.

This time I am proving something to myself.

So. On February 4, I headed off to our local YMCA with Jane (I am not big-and-bad enough to show up and just start swimming and running). I didn’t even know how to program a treadmill. I didn’t know where to put my gym bag.

I can’t see without my glasses, so you can imagine the look on Jane’s face when I had my glasses on over my swim cap from the locker room to the pool. Swim etiquette, or the not-at-all-cool-factor, just does not allow that certain look. You should have seen Jane’s face.

And my workout clothing? Won’t even go there. No, not lycra or spandex… or anything that may make me look normal. Poor Jane!

But anyway, I started on the treadmill. I could run for 5 minutes. Period.

Then to the pool. I could do 4 laps, panting. Period.

But I must say that one huge inspiration for me was our Pinks & Blues interview with Kathy Kaehler back in January. Kathy spoke about her “Take Five” workout where 5-minute blasts get heart rates up and energy flowing (not to mention, fit and sexy). I think the 5-minute concept just got me going in a very realistic way. Even on the treadmill and in the pool.

Here I am… a grown woman with children and grandchildren. I am confident and love challenges. But I was truly scared to look, well, kind of silly doing these things, looking exhausted and out-of-place. But 5 minutes?

Yes, I could do it.

Now here we are, almost 6 weeks later.

I actually ran 3.2 miles on the treadmill last weekend. It took me 44 minutes.

I actually swam 62 consecutive laps in the pool. It took me 35 minutes.

Do I look totally cool? Probably not.

Do I feel like a million? Absolutely.

And now that the nice weather is returning to New England, I am even running outdoors. And soon I will be digging my old bike out of our garage for Phase 2!

I know my kids and my husband are very proud of me. But I guess even more important than that, I am proud of myself for having a goal and sticking to a plan.

My first real Sprint Triathlon, you ask? Some time in late May or June.

In the meantime, I will keep you posted. I know it’s a total cliche, but “If I can do it”…

Yesterday, Jane caught me in the act and snapped a picture (shown above!). Audrey and Jane chuckle at my style of running, but you know what?… it works for me! (And I still wear my glasses over my cap from the locker room to the pool. Why? I kick ass.)

- Sharon

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