Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

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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Yesterday was William’s last day of preschool.

He made it. He made it through his first year… !

Last year around this time I knew William needed something. I wasn’t sure what that “something” was, but I knew it had to do with being around other children, and not just his younger brothers! 🙂

My husband thought we should look into preschools… maybe just a 2 or 3 days-a-week thing. So we did. We started to make some calls. The first school we looked at – we just knew. This is IT! This is where we want William going to preschool. The classroom was beautifully decorated. The teachers had been there for years and years. The projects that the kids did were amazing. And most of all, it just looked FUN!

Only problem… all the 2 and 3 days-a-week program slots were full. The only slots that were open were the 5-day morning or afternoon programs.

I remember thinking… “Would this be too much for him? He’s never been away from Matt and I, plus he would only just be turning 3…” I had a few sleepless nights (literally) about this decision because well, William is my FIRST child… and you know how it is with your FIRST. You don’t have any idea – everything is based on heart and gut.

And that’s just what we relied on – our hearts and our guts… and we enrolled him in the morning 5-day program.

It was the BEST decision we ever made. I felt that wonderful feeling the first day of school as we dropped William off (even through “hysterical” tears on my part once back in my car). And I said this to my husband last night after we tucked William into bed (again, through a river of tears!).

But these “hysterical” tears are tears of joy and delight and amazement.

I can’t thank his teachers enough for their love, patience, passion for teaching, humor and kindness. They took a boy… my little boy… and gave him a true love of learning. They sparked a love of “school” in my son… something that you want your child to have, but you just hope and pray that their first school experience will be the first step in that design.

Each Monday, I would get the “curriculum” for the week. There was always a weekly theme… and each day there were different activities that would go along with that particular theme. And in addition, there was a swim day. A kids gym day. Even a singing day.

Every single day for William was 2 1/2 hours of fun. Not only with his teachers and their assignments, but with his friends. And that’s how it should be.

As I smiled through my tears yesterday at my last pick-up before summer vacation… I had all the other mothers there with me. Some with the same tears. Some with smiles telling me, “Ahh… wait until kindergarten!” Even some grandmothers… “Oh, just wait until college and then when they move out and are on their own! You want tears!?”…

And it made me feel good. This is what it’s all about. These moments in life. These times that we will always remember and know that we aren’t alone on this motherhood journey.

I even had a good laugh last night with my husband as he told me… “I just hope they are ready for 2 of our boys together in the same class next year!”

Oh, yeah… start preparing yourself now for William AND Alexander! The adventure will continue…

– Audrey

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Swish, Sweep & Grin

I still remember the day that Audrey and Jane got back into my car after picking up a couple of hot dogs at our local hot weiner joint… and Jane said, “Grin gave us two extra ones.”

Without batting an eye, Audrey added, “Grin knows you love the ones with extra onions.”

OK. Two extras were good. I guess.

I do love extra onions.

But… who (or what) was Grin?

Grin? Oh, he was the guy who didn’t talk much. But he always had a great big smile.

When I finally realized that Jane and Audrey had nicknamed this hot weiner worker based on his, well… GRIN, I couldn’t help laughing out loud.

There was no malice. No libel. Nothing disparaging or malevolent.

It was simply an observation.

Of course, I had to explain that although it was true that the nice man did GRIN, it certainly would not be necessary to call him that outside of our car. Or home. And certainly not at the hot weiner joint.

But my initial laughter at the appointed nickname did create an avalanche of sorts that did not stop at Grin, and that has continued to this day.

We’ve had Swish… the ever-efficient woman at the Dunkin’ Donuts counter who opened bags in such swift swish motions that she became known to us simply as “Swish.”

The frazzled lady at the ice cream shop who self-admittedly one day said (to Audrey and Jane) that she was a train wreck. OK. She became “Trainwreck” from then on.

Or the guy who meticulously swept his bagel shop around customers as they dropped anything… even morsels. How could they resist the name “Sweep?”

And how could I forget Shift. “Shift” worked at our neighborhood pharmacy… and I cannot recall her EVER not being there. On the job. Covering her never-ending Shift.

Then a kind-of really gross one. Shell Toes was the older (well, he was probably the age I am now) boyfriend of our next-door-neighbor. He had crusty, yellow, clam-like toenails, and he ALWAYS wore sandals. The nomiker “Shell Toes” was downright kind!

And due to that pesky little thing called genetics, this nickname thing has found its way to Audrey’s little guys. Yes, it happened today.

It was William’s last day of pre-school, and Audrey told him that he could pick out a special toy from Toys “R” Us to celebrate his wonderful first year. Once inside, William looked wide-eyed at all his choices, and finally settled on a Star Wars Light Saber. There was one left with a torn box, so William’s solution was to ask Fingers for one with a good box.


Seems that William had seen one of the stock-persons stocking the shelves.

And yes. He had the longest fingers that we had ever seen.

Oh, boy. History does repeat itself!

– Sharon

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Roll your eyes if you must, but (as you know) I consider my dogs my kids.

But lately, I feel more like I’m raising teenagers. Yes, 4-legged teenagers.

Case in point:

That’s Ryder, riding shotgun in my car.

Remember those teenage years of riding in silence with your parents because you were too cool to talk?

Doesn’t it look like she’s pulling that attitude with me? “Yeah, mama. Whatever.”

Meanwhile, Sethy just sleeps in the backseat, basically telling everyone to leave him alone.

“Leave me alone.” Remember that one from teenagehood?

Speaking of sleeping, my kids are champs at that.

Again, case in point:

That’s Seth sleeping, one of his favorite things to do. He loves to sleep in the car. On his dog beds. On the deck outside.

But despite my pleading, he doesn’t like sleeping on the couch next to mama. No matter how many times I invite him up next to me, he kind of looks at me like, “Um, nah…” and then goes off to sleep somewhere else.

Meanwhile, if I’m on the couch downstairs, Ryder is usually up in our bedroom, snoring away on the bed.

Let’s see… who else likes to be alone in their rooms? Oh, yes. Teenagers!

And finally, when it comes to eating, my pups aren’t exactly patient. Like teenagers, when hunger calls, all else must stop and mama must deliver.

The other day I was preparing breakfast for the kids, and as usual, they sat and watched me.

I got sidetracked for a second and had stop the food prep for a minute. Ryder let out a big sigh (and I swear I saw her roll her eyes) and left the room, like, “How dare you delay my breakfast!”

Of course, I’m sure I don’t help the situation, as I’m a total sucker when it comes to their puppy dog eyes.

Like any parent, I always try to do what’s best for my kids. Acting like teenagers or not, they are my babies and my very best friends.

Come on, look at these faces:

Wouldn’t you give them anything they wanted?

– Jane

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My first little granddaughter called me “Umma” when she was learning to talk.

I loved being called Umma, but I knew it would not last.

She caught very quickly onto “Grandma,” and the rest is history. Since then, all of my grandchildren have called me Grandma.

Except Benjamin, Audrey’s littlest guy.

He calls me Mama.

Now, it is true that I see him every day because I work with Audrey. And it is true that I am pretty involved with his care, especially now that Audrey is due with Henry in a couple of weeks. Yes, I can still bend and lift and all that good stuff.

I just melt when he extends his arms and hands to me… looks into my eyes with his big baby-blues… and says, “Mama. Mama.” Thank goodness that Audrey is so comfortable in her own role as the “real” Mama. She laughs and melts right along with me.

Maybe Benjamin just knows exactly what he wants and how to get it from the world’s biggest sucker.

Me. Mama!

– Sharon

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I spent some time with Audrey and her boys (my brother-in-law included) on Monday afternoon.

Audrey’s yard has the best small hill for summer and winter fun. And there’s nothing quite like seeing the excitement and fun from 3 little boys as they slide and glide down, and then make their way back up the hill for more Slip N Slidin’! It was especially fun watching Benjamin join his brothers for the first time.

– Jane

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Last night my husband and I took my mother-in-law out for dinner. This was not how the evening was supposed to go… but that’s what I love about life, because the night turned into a lovely golden thread of beautiful memories for all of us.

Actually, my mother-in-law was scheduled for surgery this morning but plans changed when she was diagnosed yesterday with an infection. With a round of antibiotics, the surgery will be on again, probably next week. But of course she was very nervous, then frustrated, so my husband and I eased her angst by taking her out for her favorite dinner at a little gem of a place here in Rhode Island. Yes, the Alaskan King Crab Legs, sweet potato, spinach, and tons of bread and buttah (as she calls it) were just what the doctor ordered, and soon she was cracking up with laughter at my husbands’s jokes and antics. He knows just how to make anyone, especially his mom, feel bettah.

My mother-in-law is 89 years old. She drinks beer. Tells jokes. And still bakes treats for her kids, grandkids, and now great-grandkids. So I wasn’t surprised when she brought along a gift bag of her famous cinnamon twirls to drop off at Audrey’s home. Yes, she not only remembered Audrey’s birthday, but spent the day before her supposed-to-be surgery baking Audrey’s favorite cookies. She placed them into a Tupperware container that she remembered Audrey loving as a child, and birthday wrapped them in a beautiful presentation. But remember… this is all on top of being worried about the surgery that was canceled at the last minute.

But anyway… Flo got to talking about the baby shower that she “threw” for me when I was expecting Audrey, the shower that happened to be 30 years ago yesterday. Yes, the exact date as our little dinner last evening. She reminisced about what she baked that day, who was there, what I wore… and especially about how I carried things up and down the stairs that day as she warned me that I would be having that baby sooner than I should.

Well, she was correct. The shower was on May 21. Audrey was due June 26. I went into labor 30 years ago today, May 22.

I knew something was going on when I felt a whirlpool-like swish that woke me up from a sound sleep. I knew something was going on when I saw a little pinkish-ness on the morning toilet paper. So as soon as I arrived at school that morning (30 years ago today!), I rushed to our school nurse and told her of my “condition.” She smiled and said, “Honey, you’re in labor.”

“But I can’t be! The baby isn’t due for 5 more weeks!” I said. Well, cried.

So began my day. Me in total denial. But my denial was not something Audrey was considering, so at 10:00 am, as I stood up to teach a class, my water broke. I was so huge that I couldn’t see my legs and feet, so I asked my team-teacher if there was water… or blood… on the floor. She saw nothing, so I knew the liquid had to be clear. Thank God.

Thank God, too, that my husband and I taught at the same school, so I sent a student from my English department to the Math department to PLEASE get my husband.

My husband was there in a heartbeat and off we went to the hospital. I was admitted immediately. My husband made all the important calls. His mother said, “I told her not to be going up and down those stairs.” And we waited.

And waited.

But it seems that Audrey had changed her mind.

I had contractions all that day, 30 years ago today. But none so alarming that the baby seemed imminent.

At midnight my husband was sent home to rest up for the next day, when I would be induced further.

I remember staring at the night sky and the stars from my hospital window. I knew my little baby was a bit too early to be coming, but I prayed and prayed for a healthy baby. I thought of all the shower gifts that were piled into a corner of the un-prepared nursery. I thought of my dad who had died three years earlier, and who so wanted to be a grandpa. I knew he was smiling from above.

The next morning, May 23, was a spectacular warm and sunny May morning. And I labored that morning, that afternoon… until a cesarean delivery was “ordered.”

My husband was allowed into the delivery room with me… and I watched my husband’s eyes as he watched our baby be born into this glorious world. And at 5:53 pm our little girl made her beautiful appearance. She weighed 4 lbs. 9 oz. and measured 17 inches. She was the most beautiful baby. She was whisked away for all the necessary premie things… and I woke up a couple of hours later in recovery.

As I opened my eyes, our pediatrician was standing over my bed. He told me that my baby was perfect… and he wanted her name so the nurses could put it in big letters across her incubator.

That moment defined my baby girl. I had thought Allison Audrey was a lovely name. My husband LOVED Audrey Allison. And at that moment, I knew just how loving and special and perfect this daddy was for this perfect little baby girl.

I whispered, “Audrey Allison.”

Our Audrey Allison has always loved her name. And each time I say it, I think of my husband’s eyes as he watched her come into this world. His first daughter. His first little baby girl.

And I think of my mother-in-law… scolding me for walking up and down those steps on the day of my baby shower.

And guess what? She was still scolding me last night! Ah, yes… we had such a wonderful time talking and smiling and laughing and being scolded about those days when our precious little bundle of joy was making her way to us.

So Audrey… happy almost 30th. 30 years ago today I was thinking of my baby… you!

And thanks, Nana Flo… for all the wonderful memories of that special, special time.

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On turning 30…

Tomorrow I will be 30 years old.

30 years old.

I’ve never been one of those people who “dreads” certain ages. I have always embraced each birthday with a sense of excitement, contentment and gusto!

30 will be no different.

My 20’s have been good to me. 10 years of growing… learning… dreaming… reaching… loving and moving in a forward motion.

I met my husband at 20. Graduated from college at 21. Got married at 23. Had my first baby at 26. My next at 27. My next at 28. And conceived my next at 29.

I lived 7 of the past 10 years in New York City working for Donna Karan. I pursued a life-long dream to not only live in New York City, but “make it there”… just like Frank Sinatra sang. And I did, along with my husband. We were able to create a “perfect” little life for ourselves there. And it was wonderful.

I bought my first house in my 20’s. My first house. A place to call home and know that I won’t be handing in my keys at the end of my lease.

I wrote and published my first book, Preconception Plain & Simple. I started Pinks & Blues (soon-to-be named Mom Generations) with my mother and sister. And I’ve watched our business grow…

I have met more and more beautiful people. And have made more and more wonderful friends.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know my parents and grandmothers as an adult woman and mother. I have delighted in seeing my brothers become fathers. My sister meeting the love of her life. And my parents become grandparents.

I have lived. And I have loved in my 20’s.

I have my husband to thank for the deep love that I not only feel from him, but have for him.

And I never imagined 3 (almost 4) little men entering my life and changing it so profoundly.

Not all before I turned 30.

It’s quite amazing to me.

And so… as I embark on my 30’s tomorrow… I can’t help but think and smile about the next 10 years and what they will bring me.

Where will I be 10 years from now? Will there be more children? Will we still be living in this very home where I am typing away in at this very moment? Will the gray hairs eventually pop out? 🙂

This is the exciting part about life… and I’m excited and energized for the ride we call “our 30’s.”

– Audrey

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When my kids were young, my mother-in-law had a special cabinet in her home.

This cabinet was to the right of her oven, filled to the brim with every conceivable unbreakable child-mesmerizing item, and just big enough for a small child to climb into when empty.

But to eventually climb in… the contents had to be removed, of course. And it was in the removal of items that created most of the fun.

There were pots and pans and lids that caused lots of noise. There were wooden spoons to pound on the turned over pots and pans and lids. My father-in-law was a Big Band era drummer, so these sounds were, literally, music to my mother-in-law’s ears.

Then there were the Tupperware products. Colorful tumblers and containers of all sizes and shapes.

There were old place mats and cloth napkins. Salt and pepper shakers. And plastic utensils and plates. These were for the “dinners” that the kids would prepare.

And for the “restaurant” times, Nana had scraps of paper and crayons for “orders”… and even a calculator for check-out.

Then there was the jewelry. Magnificent “pearl” bracelets and necklaces. “Diamonds” and gems of all kinds.

Nana even had a couple of wigs in that special cabinet. Audrey and Jane were little blondies… and they thought it was so funny to become brunettes for the moment!

But then the empty cabinet. A cave. A tent. A tunnel. A tree hollow. A spaceship. Whatever and wherever an imagination could take them.

Little did I know then that Nana’s kitchen cabinet would become the keeper of so many memories.

Little did I know that some day I would have my own kitchen cabinet, filled with things to make noise and dinners and brunettes! I thank God that my mother-in-law, 89 and going strong, is here to see the memories of a new generation being formed in my kitchen cabinet to the right of my oven.

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Less than 5 weeks to go.

Matthew is working crazy hours right now.

Knowing full well that 3 boys, all 4 and under, are non-stop…

Having Mom and Dad come over this morning, cook breakfast and occupy the kids from 6 am to 8:30 am… while I took a (gasp!) glorious shower.


(Thanks Mom and Dad. Is this an early birthday present? Yes… I turn the big 3-0 on FRIDAY!)

– Audrey

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