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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

We’ve been home for 3 days.

3 whole days.

And William, Alexander and Benjamin are just in LOVE with their brother. In LOVE! As a parent, this is the most beautiful sight to see. Your children loving each other. Especially the newest sibling!

But it must be said… it has been absolutely hilarious listening to the things the boys have been asking us and telling us about Henry – or as he has been tagged by the boys, “Henge.”

And the boys are so innocent with their comments and remarks.

My favorite was when William walked in to see me for the first time after having Henry, and there I was with tears in my eyes as the boys greeted their brother… and the hugs and kisses… and the “can I hold him?” asked a hundred times in a row by William and Alexander.

But then William turned to me and said, “Mommy, I thought you said your stomach would be gone after Henry was born?”

Ahh… the innocence (honesty?) of a child.

And something only my son could get away with saying to me! :)

I will say that all went well with the c-section. It was a much different experience than my 3 previous births. Going into the hospital to deliver on a specific date, at a certain time, has its advantages when you have 3 little ones at home! And even though I’m somewhat confined to the living room and kitchen for the next 2 weeks, having Henry here is absolutely wonderful. Each time I look into beautiful eyes, I ask him, “How have I gone this long in life without you?”

So here we are. 4 boys under 4.

We’re back to 3 cribs. 3 boys in diapers (we’re still working on the potty training with Alexander!). And 2 boys with bottles!

Ah, life is perfect.

- Audrey

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Stars.

My best friend Bernadette believes in stars. Stars bring comfort and light. Stars reflect earth’s dreams. Stars are God’s promise of morning.

And stars are reminders that her dad is watching and guiding from heaven.

Tonight, there is a star-garden filling the entire universe. Twinkling stars. Diamond stars. Wishing stars. And angel stars… stars with bright and beautiful wings that dance across the night sky.

I know that one of these angel stars is Caroline Patricia, who with her great-grandpa keeps perfect time in the evening dance of miracles.

Caroline is Bernadette’s granddaughter. Caroline was born a baby angel on June 14th, and she was laid to rest today. The love for sweet baby Caroline is beyond words. Greater than time and eternity. Infinite in its power.

The grief, the sorrow, the sadness, the pain in losing Caroline is unspeakable… unbearable.

Broken hearts. Questions. Faith. Searching for the eternal. Knowledge of God and God’s purpose.

And the love. The running, leaping, jumping, flying love for a little girl who danced inside her mommy all through the fall and winter and spring… right to the entrance of summer. The little girl who commuted to Boston by train with her mommy each morning and evening. The little girl who listened to her mommy and daddy and grandparents cheer on their beloved Providence College Friars at each home game. The little girl who would be welcomed with unrestrained joy and happiness.

It seemed that the world had come to an end.

This morning, the rising scent of summer flowers was sweet. The earliest birds delighted waiting branches. Dew glistened as the sun swelled in the sky.

God promised that the world would continue turning. I know this because the day turned into night.

And the stars began to dance.

The night sky is a celebration of promises. Especially now… with heaven’s newest angel, with her bright and beautiful wings, dancing in the night sky in the arms of her loving great-grandpa.

Caroline. Darling sweet baby Caroline. Your dance is dreams remembered and your light is the pure flame of life.

A diamond in the sky. An angel star.

A miracle.

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As you enter my home, I have an antiqued wall hanging that expresses what I feel each moment of each day: Count Your Blessings.

This week, there were a million blessed moments. Counted. And I thank God.

- Sharon

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The perfect SMILE!

My mother took this photo of William on Tuesday.

Right after Henry was born Matt sent out a photo via cell phone to everyone in our family to announce he was HERE.

This was William’s face the VERY FIRST time he saw Henry’s photo. I don’t think I could have dreamed a more perfect smile or reaction!

- Audrey

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… can be found on Jane’s Twitter page here!

Please keep Audrey and little Henry in your thoughts and prayers today! We are so excited to meet our latest family addition!

*UPDATE – HENRY HAS ARRIVED! HE WAS BORN AT 12:09 PM – 7 LBS. 14 OZ. HE AND AUDREY ARE DOING GREAT! MOMMY IS RESTING!*

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Less than 24 hours to go…

I cannot believe in less than 24 hours, it will finally be time!

Henry.

Henry will be here.

I am excited and anxious and happy and as-ready-as-can-be all at the same time.

This weekend we worked our butts off getting things ready.

The bassinet is down from the attic. The bedding is washed and crisp and fresh.

The 0-3 month clothes have been sorted. All clean. All ready to be used (again!).

The Target run was accomplished yesterday (thank you, Mom and Dad!). So the bottles, the diapers, the binkies and the blankies are purchased and clean and organized.

The lists (yes, plural) for my parents are completed. Giving them the total-run-down of everything that has to be done at home with the older boys, the 3 big brothers.

And my bag is completely packed, sitting next to the door. Along with the fully-charged video-camera and camera. And – of course! – my laptop for BLOGGING! :)

So here I am.

Ready. Ready. Ready.

And trying to take today to take all of this in. I’m going to be a mother for the 4th time tomorrow!

I will update you all – as I’m sure my mother and Jane will, too – when Henry’s HERE!

- Audrey

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Here is my list of 10 Reasons You Know You’re Ready-to-Go!

1. Everyone who crosses my path – family, friends and strangers alike – all say the same thing, “The baby’s still in there, huh? You’re carrying so low!”

2. With the heat wave on the east coast… I am now sweating in places I didn’t know it was possible to sweat from!

3. None of my maternity pants fit anymore. I’m down to dresses and skirts.

4. The hospital called to confirm Tuesday. (Oh yes, the 17th has been marked on my calendar since THANKSGIVING!)

5. I heard my husband tell his boss on the phone yesterday, “Audrey just looks like she could go at any minute.” (I don’t know what the “look” is… but it is.)

6. This past Tuesday, my doctor asked me what kind of contraception I plan to use after the baby is born. Yes… contraception. I’m just thinking about having my baby. Nothing more.

7. I actually packed my bag for the hospital. You know – just in case I go early.

8. My husband has taught my parents how to turn on and maneuver XBOX and Wii. Not for them, but for my boys… while we’re at the hospital.

9. My 2 oldest guys are asking me every night, “Is Henry coming tomorrow?”

10. The fridge has been stocked with Coor’s Light for the homecoming. (Thank you, honey.)

* 1 Reason we still may NOT be ready… the bassinet, clothes and bedding are still up in the attic. And I haven’t gotten my butt to Target yet for the infant diapers, bottles, binkies and new blankies. Note to self – GO TONIGHT!*

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My mom says that my love affair with strawberries began when I was just a toddler. And as hot, sordid affairs most always begin, mine began in scandalous over-indulgence.

As the story goes, my Grandma Martin took me out one summer morning to her vast Michigan strawberry fields to pick strawberries. Innocent enough. My grandmother believed that there is magic in the ground we farm, and that magic sprouts blessed harvests. And my Grandma Martin knew the promises and the rewards of her soil. Especially in her luscious strawberries.

So off we went. Grandma Martin. Her baskets. And me toddling behind, wearing the great big calico sun bonnet that she had made just for me.

As my mom tells it, it seems that my grandmother then simply let me delight in the budding curiosities of childhood. In other words, what might a strawberry or two or fifteen look like if squished between my fingers? How many strawberries would fit in one sun bonnet? And… just how many sweet, ripe, luxuriously red strawberries could one child eat?

Ah. I don’t remember the squishing or the bonnet stuffing, but I do remember the eating. I remember my grandma showing me how to lift the velvety green leaves aside to find the red treasure beneath. I remember the cool earth and the rows upon rows upon rows of green velvet. I remember my grandma’s nimble fingers showing me the magic beneath. And I remember eating the strawberries, one after another. I swear they were as big as my fist.

I remember holding my Grandma Martin’s hand as we walked through the fields back to the farm house. She carried one huge basket filled with strawberries in her other hand. And I remember her telling my grandpa that she had left full baskets in the strawberry fields that needed to be picked up. He would do that later… with his tractor.

And I remember being the princess of strawberries that day.

My grandma pulled a chair up to her big sink basin and let me help her wash the strawberries. I helped her fill small baskets that she would sell at her roadside fruit and vegetable stand. And she let me line up the rest of the strawberries as she sliced them… swiftly, but beautifully… for dessert that night.

Of all things in my lifetime, my strawberry memories on the Michigan farm with my Grandma Martin would be the ones that formed and shaped me. Perhaps it was the fresh air. The summer sun. The holding of my hand. The sun bonnets. The kitchen basin. The always-like-it-was-the-first-time discovery of the red fruit beneath the velvet. It was all about family. Generations. Love. And her strawberries.

Those strawberries. My love affair with strawberries.

Now, I eat strawberries on ice cream. In yogurt. On pies and cakes. Smothering shortcake.

And big, ripe whole. Just like on the day I fell in love. The day my Grandma Martin let me value the price and innocence of my childhood in the juicy deliciousness of a strawberry or two or fifteen.

I hear this year is a bumper crop year for strawberries.

I am sure my Grandma Martin is watching closely as she tends the fields in heaven. And each time I touch a strawberry, especially when I am with my grandchildren… I know she is watching.

OK. Next time, I will let them devour a strawberry or two or fifteen… and if they are as lucky as I am, the love affair will continue into another generation.

Thank you, Grandma. Thank you for the greatest gift of all… treasured memories.

And oh, yeah. A love affair with strawberries!

-Sharon

ps On my wrist, I have a tattoo… 2 luscious strawberries with green velvety leaves. This honors my Grandma Martin, and reminds me each day to retain a great big piece of childhood.

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PR guru and all-around cool guy Peter Shankman wrote a post yesterday in which he gave advice to this year’s graduating class. And it got me thinking about my own experience as a high school graduate 10 years ago. Ten years ago TODAY, to be exact.

Wow. Ten years. Exactly 10 years ago today I said goodbye to the first (and most lengthy) phase of my education, grades K-12, high school diploma in hand.

And boy, was I ready to get out of there.

I thought about the future then, but on a much more short-term scale. At the time, graduating from college seemed light years away. Getting married, buying not one, but two houses, starting (and sticking to) a career… these things weren’t even on the radar.

And yet, these are some of the significant, life-changing things that these past ten years have brought.

It’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re busy living life.

The high school years were not the best years of my life. At some points, they were downright horrible. Even back then, I remember thinking , “It has to get better than this.” Once I had that diploma in hand, I was ready to begin the next chapter of my life, leaving the rest behind. And I did.

I went off to college. I took 2 years off in between my sophomore and junior years. I transferred to Brown. I became an aunt. I became a first-time dog mom. I started dating the man who would become my husband. I graduated from college. I started my first real job. I bought my first house. I got married. I bought my second house. I helped start a company, Pinks & Blues and have watched it grow… so much so that we’re renaming and rebranding it as Mom Generations (like, soon!). I started a new job as the Social Media Manager at Mom Central.

All of these things – college, career, marriage, family – they were floating in my mind 10 years ago today as part of the future… but the way that they would be concretely reached within the decade could not have been determined. And I kind of like it that way.

Regrets? I don’t believe in them. Sure, sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if I had done something differently. But there is no other place I would rather be in my life right now, so somehow everything turned out as it was supposed to.

In many ways, I am the same girl I was back on June 11, 1998. But time and experience has made me a bit more sure of myself. A bit more confident. A bit more assertive.

There are some things about that girl that I have held on to. Her penchant to root for the underdog. Her empathy for others.

Her excitement about the blank slate known as the future, just waiting to be filled with experience.

I didn’t attend my 10 year reunion last month. I felt no need to relive that uncertainty and insecurity that 10 years has taken me to the other side of. If someone had told me then that 10 years from now, things would be better, things would work out, things would be good (actually, maybe my parents did tell me that…!), I may not have completely believed them (or been listening).

But I do now. Because now I know.

- Jane


My senior portrait

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One week from TODAY!

I cannot believe in exactly one week I am going to have my 4th child.

My 4th son!

Last night laying in bed, it “hit” me…

Henry will be here. And SOON!

This pregnancy has flown by for me. Since my “2 pink lines day” on October 16th, I felt like time has been on fast-forward. I kept thinking that it would really “hit” me after Thanksgiving… and then after Christmas… and then after New Year’s… and then after Benjamin’s 1st birthday… and then after my 30th birthday… and then after June 1st.

And now there aren’t any “then afters.” Just him.

Just my Henry.

I’m not worried about adding a 4th baby to this mix. After all, I think once you hit 3 children and become completely outnumbered… you somewhat have an idea of what life is going to be like with “more than 2.” My husband hasn’t even batted an eye. He thinks adding another baby to the brood will feel very normal. God, I love this man!

But I can’t help but think… has it really “hit” me yet?

This little man who is going to be my 4th son. My 4th son. Never in my whole life did I imagine or dream big enough to think that I would be blessed and lucky enough to be the mother of 4 boys. (Not to mention all so very close in age!). When I tell people that I have a 3 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old… they cannot believe I am having another baby so soon. I have always felt that babies are destined to you. They were always meant to be… fated to you before time even began.

And so my Henry… we are getting ready to meet you. I still have to get your Daddy to pull the clothes out, get the bassinet down and pull all the bedding out. And I still have to go out and buy diapers, bottles, binkies and some new blankies for you… but we’re as ready as we’re going to be.

Can you tell we’re seasoned parents now? With William, I had everything ready-to-go when I was 30 weeks pregnant!

And Henry, you have 3 older brothers waiting out here for you…

William. Who kisses my belly EVERY single day. He cannot wait to meet you. And he told me last night that I’m only allowed to have “one more baby after Henry” because he doesn’t remember me EVER not pregnant. And he’s worried about how a 5th baby would fit in our car.

Alexander calls you “Uncle Dimi.” From the very beginning of this pregnancy… he has called my belly “Uncle Dimi.” Uncle Dimi is Alexander’s namesake and our beloved best friend, a man who lost his life in Iraq. Alex loves to point his finger and jab at you. A little uncomfortable for me… but you seem to love it because you do a little kick back at him, always.

And Benjamin. Ahh… Benjamin. He is almost the exact same age as William was when Alexander was born. I know he doesn’t understand that a new baby brother is coming his way… but he knows something is going on. When I ask him, “Where’s the baby?”, he points to my belly. What warms my heart the most is knowing the bond William and Alexander have… and knowing that you will have Henry, just like they have each other.

And, of course… you will all have each other.

So. 4 kids. 4 boys. Coming soon. Oh-so-very-soon…

Henry, I cannot wait to look into your eyes. I cannot wait to hold you and meet you and just be your mommy… you know, from out here!

Oh my GOD… I’m going to have 4 KIDS! I gotta go lay down! :)

- Audrey

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