Monday, October 6, 2014

Questioning Preschool

As most of you know we had a decision to make about whether to put the triplets in preschool or not. Due to how early they were born, they have been a part of the early intervention state program here and when we were in Arizona. When they turn three they no longer qualify so we had them evaluated by the public school system to see if they qualified for pre school so they could continue working on a few of their delays. Last week we found out that although the kids have some weaknesses, they also have many strengths. Overall they do not qualify for service or preschool. Their speech is actually caught up to their actual age which is amazing considering they were only saying 1-2 word phrases in the Spring. They know all their colors, shapes, 10 numbers and most letters of the alphabet. I thought I would be disappointed if they didn't qualify because I really wanted them to get that interaction and extra help. But I wasn't disappointed. I felt extremely proud of them and so lucky that despite being born at 29 weeks and all the surgeries and hospital scares, they are doing so well. I actually feel overcome with emotion when I think about how far they have come. We toured another preschool which I really loved the teacher but in the end, have decided to keep them home, at least until cold/flu season is over and maybe longer. I feel very at peace with this choice and am honestly so exhausted of every aspect of their behavioral and physical development being evaluated and picked apart. Since they were born (and for their own good) they have been consistently evaluated and tested and seemed to be graded by Developmental Pediatricians, Developmental Specialists, Speech Therapists, and Educators and they are not even in school yet. I have spent many nights worrying about if they are behind, if they will catch up to their actual age, when they will start doing some of the things other kids their age are doing or what the results of the next evaluation will be. Now that so many have unanimously decided how well they are doing and that they don't qualify, I think they deserve a break, and a chance to just be a silly toddler and play without so many eyes on them. And in all honestly I need the break from that too. Soon they will be in school, taking tests and doing homework. The teachers and other school staff I'm sure will have an opinion on how well they are, or are not doing, but right now I think the only people that should be doing that is Tommy and I, for once, and for just for awhile. Thanks to everyone for their feedback on preschool. Although it was a tough decision, it was one that in the end I came to on my own and it feels right in my heart.  I am going to enroll them in a tumbling class which will be fun for them and help with gross motor skills. Otherwise I am happy to say, they are stuck with me, and that our little preemies are very bright and strong individuals who continue to beat the odds and overcome their challenges on their own timeline, not mine or anyone else's.
Last week we found out from the public school system that although the kids have some weaknesses, theyLast week we found out from the public school system that although the kids have some weaknesses, they also have many strengths. Overall they do not qualify for service or preschool. Their speech is actually caught to their age 33-35 months. They know all their colors, shapes, 10 numbers and most letters. I thought I would be disappointed because I really wanted them to get that interaction and extra help. But I wasn't disappointed. I felt extremely proud of them and so lucky that despite being born at 29 weeks and all the surgeries and hospital scares, they are doing so well. We toured another preschool which I really loved the teacher but have decided to keep them home, at least until cold/flu season is over. I feel very at peace with this choice and am honestly so tired of every aspect of their behavioral and physical development being evaluated and picked apart thanks to everyone for their feedback. I think I am going to enroll them in a tumbling class which will be fun for them and help with gross motor skills. Otherwise they are stuck with me

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

True Stories of Terrible Twos with Triplets

I wrote this August 13, 2014 and never posted:

Since my kids have turned two I hardly have time to write anymore. I had much more time when they were infants, hanging out in the bouncers and rolling around the play mats. Now, if I leave the room for a second even to go pee, it is the end of the world. If I try to make dinner..forget it, they will pee on the floor, climb the walls, and do everything they possibly can to get my attention in a negative way. You would think they would want to eat but they are not old enough to understand there is a process involved. They want my undivided attention EVERY moment they are awake and they don't want to sleep.

One of my biggest challenges as a mom of triplets is that I am so used to doing everything for them, feeding, dressing, lifting, walking, everything! I do this because if I let them try to do all this themselves every time we left the house or ate a meal, we would literally never leave the house or the table. They are slow as molasses, Getting them up and down the stairs is like herding cattle. Not to compare my beautiful miracles to cows but lets face it, they are two, there are three of them and their listening skills are not great. Because of this they are somewhat delayed in the self help category. They should be doing more themselves at this age (34 months) than they are. So, now we have to practice getting dressed during playtime, and we have to allow extra time before every outing so they can practice going up and down the stairs and putting their shoes on, etc. Once they can do more things for them selves, that will be one thing that will make my life much easier.

Another huge challenge is getting them to understand why its important to not run in the street and that they should stay close to mom. I have almost lost my son THREE times at play dates and events due to how chaotic it is when you have three toddlers running around amidst many other kids and people. I do need eyes in the back of my head and another set of arms would be helpful too.

Lastly, the constant whining and crying every time they want something or are fighting over something with their siblings is a little, well, its annoying. They know how to talk but they choose to scream a high pitched scream to get every ones attention all throughout the day. Oye. With one toddler, you may only experience this periodically or on play dates. The whining and screaming is constant which is why I prefer to get them out of the house if possible but then I risk losing my son, so you pick your battles I guess?

I could go on and on about why my husband and I have decided that having two year old triplets is WAY harder than when they were infants. Yes, we got less sleep, but honesty the sleep is still not great. It takes hours to get them to bed and then they still wake up  in the middle of the night and need us and are up with the sun. But I still LOVE my children and I LOVE watching them learn and my life would be empty and hollow without all this believe it or not. I do have to be realistic though and the reality is that it is very very hard being a mom and very very hard being a mom of triplets at this age. Below I compiled a list of funny stories and scary moments from their twos. I hear three is even tougher but I will survive! All too soon they will be grown, and I will wish for these days back. At least I can laugh about it.

Where is Mickey Story #1  - In an effort to make friends in a new city, I finally got the courage up to join another mom at the mall play area. The kids were running around, climbing the different plastic animals and I was carefully chatting with my new friend. Of course in a split second, Mickey is no where to be seen. My heart dropped, I panicked, I thought how will I tell Tommy I lost our son? Luckily we found him. Then he began running out of the play area and into the department store again and again as a game now. It was fun for him to have me chase after him, so one time I didn't, thinking he would stop and come back. But he didn't come back. My heart dropped again. I ran deep into the department store and found him in the juniors section dancing to the music.

Trying to Make Dinner #1 - I was trying to make dinner and I could hear the kids running around screaming behind me. I was making a new recipe and trying to focus on the measurements when I suddenly realized Georgia was standing there saying "sissy, bubba" and the other two were NOT THERE. I left the stove top on and ran to the front door which I realized they had opened. I slammed the door shut behind me so Georgia wouldn't get out. I ran into the street of the neighborhood and couldn't see them. I looked right and left again and there they were running up the street in their pull ups with some nice lady who had stopped her car to help them when she noticed them running alone. I thanked her profusely and went with my escapees to the front door to realize it had locked behind be. The front door had always been locked but it didn't latch closed which is how they got out so when I slammed it behind me in a panic I locked us out and Georgia inside with the stove on, and I had no phone. Luckily a neighbor saw me at my front door holding two half naked toddlers in my hands and let me borrow her phone. Just then Tommy drove in the driveway. Saved again. Barely.

Trying to Make Dinner  #2- As soon as I got up to make dinner the kids started with their mischief. It wasn't until I heard mickey slip and fall that I realized they were doing something they were not supposed to. I found one of my daughters in the bathroom with the faucet on, water covering the floor which Mickey had slipped and hit his head. Sigh. So much for trying to make dinner. Now I am cleaning the bathroom and cuddling my son.

The Fireplace - Making dinner became such a challenge. I couldn't always wait for my husband to come home and someone suggested giving them all play bowls and spoons and tell them they are helping mommy with dinner, so that's what I did and it worked! I didn't hear a peep and I made dinner in record time. Yes!!!.....NO! Later that night I went to turn the gas fireplace on. A couple minutes later I noticed a funny smell and smoke pouring out the fireplace. They had thrown all their plastic food in the fireplace. The smoke alarms were going off.. It was chaos. Luckily my husband was able to get the fire out by pouring water in it. But now the fireplace in broken. Sigh.

Where is Mickey Story #2 - It is 4th of July and we are all at the event in Charlottesville for fireworks and fun! We set up all our chairs and blankets in a great spot to see what should be some awesome firecrackers. The kids got their face painted and were happily sucking on lollipops. It was a great night so far. We were hanging out at the chairs and my husband left to get us a snack and some water. I was watching the girls when I looked up and Mickey was gone! There were thousands of people here. All I saw was a sea of red, white and blue!  I could see an older man watch me as I panicked searching for my son. He could have gotten up to help me but that is besides the point. I ran up and down the hill looking for Mickey and when I didn't see him I texted my husband to come back right away, that I couldn't find him. Just as I did, I saw Mickey in the parking lot jumping over something  in the road innocently not even realizing how far he had gone. Scariest moment ever! I thought we would never find him in all those people. Just then my husband got back and we decided to go without food and water for the rest of the night.

Where is Mickey Story #3 - I was on a first time play date with some moms in the area we live in. I was doing as I always do and counting periodically...1...2...3, to make sure I knew they were all accounted for. They were. I began telling one of my new friends the story about Mickey at the mall and when I looked back maybe 15 seconds later, he was gone...again. All the moms were scouring the park and playground calling for Mickey. Once again my heart was racing, he could be anywhere in this neighborhood. Then someone spotted him across the street in someones front yard, exploring. Did I mention he had crossed a very busy neighborhood street to get there? How will I ever keep him contained?

I probably have so many more stories I could share and if I had kept up with this blog it would be easier, I could tell you about potty training triplets and all the poop and pee I have cleaned up in the last 6 months and how they yell "yayyyyy" and start clapping in public restrooms when they go. I could tell about all the hilarious dance parties we have every day, about how they put each other to bed at night and say to every single older man with gray hair "hi grandpa". I could tell you about the long nights when Georgia wakes up crying and then wakes up Jo Jo and then Mickey and how we pretty much don't sleep after that. I could tell you about all the hugs and kisses  I get every day and the new words they say every day. They know all their colors and shapes, can count to ten and even know most of the letters.

This month they will be three. The terrible twos will be over and they weren't so terrible. Some days were....challenging and some moments my sanity hanged in the balance but then they look at me, say "mommy, hug?" and raise their arms up to the sky and I remember why I wanted to be a mom and wonder how I was possibly blessed with the three greatest kids in the world!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge 2014

I wrote this entry awhile ago, August 13 2014 during the middle of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and never finished or posted:

I started this blog to be about my kids and our unique journey together, but I also wanted it to be something they can look back on and remember when they are older, or something I leave for them to hopefully learn from. So, I pause from writing about them periodically, to writing about something else that is very personal to me, but also to so many others.

I cannot let the opportunity go by without writing about the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As almost everyone knows that is how my dad lost his life.  I have seen so many wonderful videos of people taking the ice bucket challenge, sports teams, actors, musicians, Jimmy Fallon, Martha Stewart, just to name a few. I was at the neighborhood pool today with my kids and the lifeguards were doing it. Its everywhere! Which is amazing because most people don't even know what it is. I think I have waited since November 2008 for ALS to get this kind of coverage and I am in awe. Every single person that has posted a video or made a donation, you are making a huge difference, something I've never seen before and I'm amazed and grateful to all of you, even the millions I have never met. Thank you. But with that comes a lot of cruel, disrespectful jokes which as I hard as I try to not take personally, it is personal to me. Because I miss my dad, because he never got to walk me down the aisle, because he never got to meet his grand kids, because I never got to say goodbye. But although I took the Ice Bucket Challenge in his memory, that is not the main reason why this challenge is so important and its not something you should joke about. ALS is no joke! It kills and it does not discriminate. Anyone can get it...even you or someone you love.

I admit when my dad told me and my sister he was sick, I had no idea what it was. I think I had heard of it before but all I kept thinking in the back of my head is OK well they can probably treat it right? WRONG! There is no treatment. No one knows for sure what causes it and there is no cure. The average life expectancy is 2-5 years, my dad was gone after 4 months.

As heart breaking as it is for me to admit... it is too late for my dad. The reason why its important to spread awareness for this disease and raise money is because there are so many people out there dying right now and their families are sitting there watching them, completely and utterly helpless. These people might give anything to say "I love you" to their husband or wife but their voice muscles don't work anymore so they can't. They would love to give their son or daughter a hug but there arm muscles have deteriorated to the point they cant even pick up a fork to eat on their own. They may have once danced across the stage, or hit a home run out of the ball park, or ran marathons, but not anymore. They are fighting to breath because their respiratory muscles are slowly deteriorating as well. Their bodies are literally withering away while their mind stays perfectly in tact so they are aware of every single thing that is happening to them, much like being trapped inside your own body.

I'm not trying to be negative here, but everyone needs to understand that this is a very serious disease that is not as well known as some of the others and deserves some attention too. The people that are dying from this disease or have not been diagnosed (yet) deserve a chance. A chance my dad didn't have and right now no one else does either. So it may seem like some silly social media fad and a "waste of water" but its not, its peoples lives, so stop making jokes and start giving others hope. Sometimes hope is all that they left when they are told they have ALS.

I want to thank everyone that accepted the challenge from me or donated money and for everyone that followed after them as well. Some of you have been supporting me and this cause since my dad died over 5 years ago and I just want to say that means the world to me.

Since the challenge began the ALS association has raised over $114 million dollars, and has had 2.5 million first time donors, numbers they have never even come close to. I have to say my hope is still alive for a cure and who knows... because of this challenge maybe I will even be around to see that day happen.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Little Black Dress

I just had an amazing birthday weekend. Leading up to the weekend it didn't really feel "the same" or like my birthday was approaching at all. Mostly I think because unlike all the other birthdays I knew I wouldn't get to celebrate with my mom and sister and nephew. I knew I wouldn't get Peach Cobbler and Chicken Casserole like my mom makes for me every year. I also knew I would not get to do girls night and celebrate over dinner with my good friends Christie and Wendy. I was a bit sad and really missing everyone.

Luckily my husband saved the day as usual by surprising me with concert tickets to Sara Barielles. We started the night with dinner at the Melting Pot, one of my favorites. As much as I love all the eclectic food in Charlottesville, I wanted something familiar. It was amazing! And the concert was even better than I expected. Sara is a funny girl so she had us laughing the whole show, a pleasant surprise. Her voice is incredible and just gives me the goose bumps over and over. The lyrics to her music I love the most because I can relate to them and I know she writes them based on her own life experiences. When I first started listening to her music I was still getting over a pretty bad heartbreak and I had just moved to Dallas, right before I met Tommy. I was at a time in my life where I had all but given up on love and was starting to just accept the fact I may be a strong, single woman the rest of my life. How silly I was. I also happened to love my dozen or so little black dresses and that is the name of her tour. There were 4 young ladies, all in little black dresses, sitting in the row in front of us at the concert. They were holding hands and singing and they knew all the words to every song. Being the crazy person that I am I kept trying to get a picture of them. Why? I don't really know, to capture the moment I guess and everything I was feeling and what I thought they were feeling. When I looked at them I saw myself about 15 years ago. In my early twenties, still trying to find myself, loving to quickly, with too much of my heart and having the time of my life with my girlfriends, the only people I thought understood me. I saw myself back then in another little black dress, dancing with my girls at a concert or a party, singing karaoke in the living room. I couldn't help but stare at these girls. I wanted to tap them on the shoulder and tell them, "Hey, you are going to be OK", "Keep chasing the sun", "Always be yourself", "Don't let anyone stop you from from being happy. So cliche maybe, but I remember being that age and just the world was so big and I didn't know where I fit in it sometimes and I came close to giving up on my dreams so many times, but something always kept pushing me forward and through, and I know it was partially my girl friends and partially my parents, and partially me, knowing deep down inside there was still hope.

Me in my early twenties!

Me today (36)

Now I stand at this concert in the beautiful night air of Charlottesville, Virginia with the love of my life. Our three adorable children are sleeping soundly in their beds at home, hopefully dreaming the sweetest of dreams. When I was 21 years old, I never knew I could have all this in life and I felt overcome in that moment, at that concert, with complete happiness as I listened to Sara sing in my little black dress. I felt so blessed to be alive and for all the people who love me and the opportunities I have had. So if my children are reading this someday I hope if they get anything from it, it is that no matter how heartbroken you may be or how tough life gets, don't give up, because the good stuff will come around when it is supposed to and then all those other events in your life will make sense and the puzzle pieces will fit. And don't forget the good stuff that's sprinkled in between all that tough stuff. Its important too and someday you will look back on those moments and smile and maybe laugh too. Don't let anyone tell you that you are anything but amazing. Its OK to cry. Sometimes that's the best thing for you to do and if I am still here when you read this, you can cry on my shoulder and if I'm not, I am still listening and watching and you can still cry to me. But then you splash some water on your face, and move forward again.

Tommy and I at the concert!

The next day, we took the kids to Trump winery and enjoyed the spectacular views. We sat outside on the picnic benches and let the kids run around and play with bubbles. We ate cheese, crackers, flat bread pizza and sipped on some yummy wine of course. Then we went home and had blackberry cobbler that I made using some blackberries in our back yard. It was the perfect weekend. I love this place!

The last couple months have been stressful for us here. So much change in a short period of time and a lot of illness. It has taken its toll on all of us but the last couple weeks in our new home have been peaceful and I feel like I am home. I feel comfortable and like we have found our own little corner of the world. I hope that the kids will be happy here like Tommy and I are because I have a feeling we are not going anywhere.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Our Virginia Home

Well, its official. I guess we are staying for awhile as we just bought a beautiful home in the mountains southeast of Charlottesville. It is a 20-25 minute drive into Charlottesville which is actually better than where we are now. Even though by miles we are closer now, with traffic it sometimes takes 45-50 minutes to get into Charlottesville. Everyone told us there was no traffic in C-Ville. That just isn't true. There are not a lot of freeways, but a lot of two lane roads and a lot of lights through the main part of the county. Our new house will avoid all that and sits on 3.5 acres of land. It has a fenced backyard and little play set and shed in the back. The land extends beyond the fence and there is a small creek with a little bridge that leads into the trees. The house is surrounded by tall, green trees that will give us lots of privacy. Although there is no tall brick wall like the yards in Arizona, we cannot really see our neighbors through the trees except in the driveway which is long and extends the length of the front yard. Plenty of pathway for the kids to play and ride their hot wheels. At the end of the driveway by the garage is a basketball hoop, which Tommy is really excited about. He has always wanted one since he was a kid.There is a front porch that covers the entire front of the house where I will eventually be placing a couple rocking chairs. There is a formal dining room to the right as you walk in and all hard wood floors on the first floor, except in the master bedroom which is also on the first floor. The master is not very large but it has enough space, lots of windows and even a cozy fireplace. Even though it is a two story house, there is nothing above the master so it should be nice, quiet and tucked away from the rest of the house. The main living area has a whole wall of built in shelves and another fireplace. Off that space at the front of the house is an office with two french doors connecting it to the living area. The kitchen is on the opposite end of first floor by the laundry room and garage entry. There is no pantry in the kitchen which is apparently very common here in Virginia but will take some getting use to for me. There are ceiling fans and light fixtures in every room which I never knew how important those were until we moved in the house we are in now that has none. We had to go buy a bunch of cheap lamps to keep the rooms light. Very odd.

On the second level there is brand new carpet, and you have two of the kids room off to the right across from each other. Mickey's will be navy and brown and the girls will be light blue like the sky. Even though they wont all 3 be in the same room, I am hoping since they can see into each others room and still talk, it will help Mickey who hates being by himself. Next to their rooms is a bathroom with double sinks and a window that looks like that of a cruise ship. The under the sea theme will be perfect. There are two other bedrooms upstairs, one with a closet and one without. One will be a guest room and I am not sure about the other one yet. Either another guest room (since there are no hotels nearby) or a craft room maybe? Last but not least, at the end of the hall, above the garage is a finished bonus area with wood floors that will be the kids play room. We are painting one of the walls in there with chalkboard paint. I cant wait to show the babes they can color on the walls.

As you drive up the mountain from Charlottesville, you will see the entrance to Monticello and many farms and vineyards. It really is breathtaking. It is a small two lane road and as you get to Palmyra, the city by Lake Monticello, there is one main area with a couple of casual restaurants, drug store, grocery store, nail salon, dry cleaners, etc. The basic necessities I suppose. The lake is 10 minutes from our house and is a gated community. Right now we are on our realtor's permanent guest list so we can go to the lake or the pool there anytime. There are 5 beaches there and you can rent boats, kayaks, go fishing, and all kinds of stuff. There is a snack bar as well. We talked about getting our own boat at some point, which would be amazing but that's a few years away at this point.

As you turn the corner into our neighborhood it just looks like something out of the movies to me. I need to get a picture of that I guess. The houses are sporadically placed among the tall greens trees and all the lots have just as much land as we do so we are part of a community but not on top of each other. I am looking forward to getting to know the neighbors and exploring. I am excited to let the kids run free in the back and not have to worry about them running into the street or onto someone else's porch. We do have lots of critters so the house and yard will be sprayed for  ticks and mosquito's and we also have to put a snake repellent down. Not for poisonous snakes. They are black snakes that eat the bad things but I don't want them in the yard anyway. Ha ha.

I cant wait to sit on the back porch with a glass of wine, watching the kids play and  lightening bugs fly around. There are still some projects I want to do to the house but over time. What I don't want to do is have to move again for a very long time. I am so ready to get comfortable. Tommy and I got to the point with this rental where we stopped unpacking boxes and we stopped putting up pictures, so half our stuff is still packed up.

Although this house appears probably really expensive, it wasn't. Our dream home was moderately affordable, at least I think so given what it has to offer. The houses in the heart of Charlottesville were much more expensive. We are not millionaire's and are still very careful with our purchases and monitor our budget closely. But we did work our butts off to get to this place in our lives. And that along with the fact that this house is just in the right spot, at the right time and was on the market for a year, we got lucky...again. There are no celebrities here (well except maybe Dave Matthews from time to time), but just really nice people living a somewhat quiet life. I cant imagine a more beautiful place to raise our family. I really hope the kids like it as they grow and we made the right choice to not be in the middle of everything. Its the first time for me not living in a big city, and although that had its advantages, I think this does too. I will try to post more updates and pics of the house as I can.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Let the Sunshine In...

I find it interesting that after my last entry "Never a dull moment" Georgia went into the hospital the very next night with breathing difficulties and the next day Tommy was supposed to leave for a three day work trip. Luckily she came home the next morning and Tommy left, but then the other two got sick. Thursday I spent most of the day giving breathing treatments and worrying about how I was going to get three two year olds to the ER by myself if I had to, even if it meant waking them up. I could have made it happen if needed but it would not have been easy. Mickey's breathing continued to get worse then better, worse and better and I was just waiting for the sure signal from him it was time to go. That night Mickey and Jo slept in bed with me so I could keep an eye on them. I didn't sleep. The next morning I woke and Tommy said he was coming back early so I scheduled an appointment for Mickey at 11am. Mickey and I were at the doctors all day. We did leave for lunch. The doctors were trying to see if his breathing would improve after the steroid so that he would not have to go the hospital. Finally after the last test at 4:30pm, and his sats were still 92ish they said he would have to be admitted so Tommy drove him to the hospital where they tested him again and the sats were 98ish. That happened to Georgia earlier in the week as well, which makes me believe there might be something wrong with their machine at the doctors. The mystery behind Mickey is that he no longer had any retractions, his respiratory rate was good and his lugs sounded clear so why did he keep getting low numbers at the doctors. Anyway, they decided to let him go home and the hospital was kind enough to say they would not even charge us for the few hours he was there. How nice is that? In my opinion, these are the kinds of things that set Charlottesville apart. The hospitals is Arizona are great, but I doubt they would have done that for us.

What a long week it was. I knew when I went to the gym on Monday that would likely be the only day I get to go because Georgia's nose started running that day and I knew she was going to get sick. I just didn't know we going to go through another hospital stay. I thought maybe since it had been over a year, their lungs had grown and we were past that point. I was wrong. I admit I have been feeling very challenged since we got here. Its been very hard to get into a routine because something is always happening. Its really prevented me from getting any results physically or mentally from my workouts because they are so few and far between. I have not been able to start volunteering at the hospital because I keep having to reschedule my health screenings that are required. I am going to try and get them done again this week. I also had to reschedule the Early Intervention evaluation for the kids that was supposed to happen last Friday. Its taken over a month to get that going. I think I speak for Tommy and myself when I say it seems we have had this cloud hanging over us since day 1 in Virginia starting with the movers not delivering our things. Tommy and I are ready for the cloud to move on. We are trying so hard to make positive choices for our family, our kids and for each other and every time we feel like we are taking a step forward to making this our home, another ball drops. We want so much to love it here but need something to go right.

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been all bad, we are on our way to owning a beautiful home, and we love this area. The people here so awesome and friendly and there is tons of stuff to do with the kids and great restaurants to eat at. But it hasn't exactly been the fresh start we were planning on so far. And I don't mean to be a downer because I have no regrets about this move and I do like it here but it has been a huge change for us and a major adjustment for me not working. Those things alone have been taking some getting used to without all the things that have gone wrong. Not having a nanny has been hard. Tommy and I were lucky with Kaela we could take care of stuff together, go to lunch, etc. Now we do everything opposite each other because someone has to watch the kiddos. We are still trying to find the easiest way to get stuff done and still spend time with each other. He has also been traveling a lot which we were not really planning on so that has been tough as well. I miss my work family greatly. I didn't see my friends in AZ that often because life was so busy for all of us. It was the friends I had at work I think that kept me sane some days. Being able to talk about our families and lives and share stories and laugh throughout the day. Adult conversations that I don't have now that made not seeing my friends outside of work a little easier. Now I am missing both my work friends and my girlfriends. I realize a lot of moms have been doing this for a long time but it is new to me.

I know we will get there, but were off to a rocky start. We had a fabulous road trip here and then, wham, test after test. Luckily, we had a beautiful Easter as a family. It was gorgeous outside. The kids got to hunt for eggs, we even drove by  our soon to be house and its was so nice seeing how everything was blooming all around. We cant wait to be there. We do have so much to be grateful for, and every time something challenging happens, I start again the next day as I will this time. I am hoping that from now on things will go a bit smoother and the clouds will move on. I don't expect life to be easy all the time. Lord knows I have had my fair share of difficult moments in my 35 years but sometimes we just need a break so we can refresh and be ready for the next challenge, so just a break for a bit would be so appreciated. We are so ready for Spring, the new beginning we were hoping for in February, we are ready for warmth and sunshine and flowers, healthy kiddos and healthy mom and dad.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Never a dull moment!

Its been awhile since I written anything. Here I thought I would have all this free time to update my blog regularly. Ha Ha Ha. There are so many little things to take care of when you move out of state, I am learning. I joined a gym which I am really excited about. Although its been hard to go on a regular basis because life keeps happening. I am able to take the babies with me and they go to child care. This is great because it gives them an opportunity to interact with other kids. I am hoping it will also help with their speech. The negative is that they are exposed to new germs and that is what happened after our first visit. They got sick and so did I. We had our first experience with stomach flu. Now I know what its like to clean vomit up from, well, everywhere, including the car. The stomach flu morphed into some kind of cold virus and we were all down for two whole weeks almost. So, no working out for me. Since then I have been able to try several classes including Yoga, Barre, and Zumba. Not which I like the most but its nice to have the variety and keeps me from getting bored.

Unfortunately, my grandmother go very sick about a month ago. My mom was supposed to come visit in March but had to cancel her trip. We lost my grandmother on April 1st. She was 94. I will miss her a lot and enjoyed living close by for the last 15 years or so. It gave me the opportunity to get to know her better than any of my other grandparents which I am grateful for. She set such a good example of what a woman should be, strong, independent and loving. I know she has not been happy for a long time though and wanted to be with her husband, my grandfather who passed in 1992. So, the next day I traveled to Dallas to meet my mom and Aunt and we drove to Tulsa for the funeral. It was good to see my mom and the rest of my family although it is so sad it is always to say goodbye to someone we love. As we were driving away from the cemetery that day I left I realized I had been to four funerals there in the last 5 years; my dad, my grandfather, my uncle and now my grandmother. I hope I don't have to go back for a long time. Although I realize as I get older more and more people I know and love will go, I think my family could use a break.

It was good to get back to Virginia with Tommy and the babies and I even felt like I was home. We have been able to find a beautiful house by Lake Monticello up on the mountain. It is 3 and a half acres, close to the lake and absolutely beautiful. I will write a blog on the house another time but feel its important to mention. Tommy and I cant wait to be there and make it our own and we are sure the kids will love  it.

On top of all this I am in the process of getting ready to start volunteering at the hospital in the NICU and bedside in Acute Pediatrics. I have done my first health screening, which includes a TB test and my next one is Wednesday. Then I go back one more time on Friday and I am hoping to get the "all clear" so I can start training. I am so excited to hopefully make a difference for some of these babies and their families. Having my own babies in the NICU for so long was such a difficult thing to go through. Not knowing what was going to happen, if they would survive, if they would have long term health issues. Wanting so badly for them to be home with us and having to leave them every night. It was all the people that worked in the hospital that helped us through that time and I want to give back in some way. The plan is to start next week if we are able to find a babysitter by then.

Georgia, Jolynne and Mickey are doing really well here. They have much more space to run around in, are saying so many new words every day and getting better at expressing themselves. They are definitely two year olds though and some days can be challenging with all their fighting and temper tantrums. They are also turning into quite the escape artists. They will be 2 and half years old at the end of this month and I will post a more detailed update on how their doing. I want to wait until I have the results from their speech and developmental evaluation that is taking place on Friday. In the meantime, we have been trying to get them out of the house on the weekend and take them to new places. We went to a winery and flew kites a couple weeks ago, we took them to the home and garden show where they got their faces painted, and last week we took them to a carnival where they rode on their first rides all by themselves. Although they all 3 had a great time, the girls did especially. Mickey was afraid of a lot of stuff there which I am sure is just a phase. Its really awesome getting to see them experience these new things and watch their faces. I cant wait to do more new stuff, starting with Easter this coming weekend. We will be dying Easter eggs and doing an egg hunt! We will even attempt to take them to Church.

Look out for my updates on the new house and the babies health. I will continue to try and post more updates than I have been. Its been a crazy couple of months and the next few months will probably be even crazier. My best friend and her family are coming to visit memorial weekend, we will be taking a trip to Richmond to the zoo for Mothers Day, moving into our new home (hopefully) mid-June and then my mom and nephew should be here. Never a dull moment for us! Loving every moment! Here are some pictures to enjoy of our new adventures in Virginia!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Roadtrip from Phoenix to Charlottesville

My mom and dad always told us about our various trips as a family over the years. Some of which I remember and some of which I don't. I thought it would be good to document here our move to Virginia so the kids can read it some day.

On February 1, 2014 we made our trek from Phoenix, AZ to Charlottesville, VA, our new home. The kiddos did so good. We left at 6am in the morning from my moms house. Both my mom and I cried when we said our goodbyes. So bittersweet as I knew it would be. We stopped in Payson for some breakfast and its a good thing we did because the second we stopped Georgia got car sick and threw up. Must have been from not having any food in her stomach. After she ate, she was fine the rest of the way. We stopped again in Gallup, New Mexico for some lunch only making one potty break in between. We had New Mexican food for lunch and it was actually pretty decent. The only annoying thing was the vendors walking up to our table trying to sell us jewelry. It started to lightly snow as we were leaving Gallup. We stopped once or twice more but it was freezing cold and hard to let the babies out for long (or us). It was cold. We somehow made it to Amarillo that night around 8pm and found a place to stay at the Staybridge Suites. It took approx. 2 hours to get the car unpacked and something for dinner which means we didn't get to eat until about 10pm. OK for us, babies were hungry though.

Day 1: 739.2 miles and 12.75 hours with three 2 year olds (who did so good!). 

The next morning we packed up the car and headed toward Tulsa. We knew the roads may be a bit dangerous once we got there so we tried to get going as soon as possible. We stopped for lunch in Weatherford, OK at someplace called Jerry's. The babies were a big hit there. So many people at our table it was tough to eat. They only had two high chairs there so we used one of our own. The selection of restaurants was not great obviously so we couldn't be picky and luckily we were prepared. We made it to Tulsa and just as we thought, the roads were especially bad once we got off the freeway. We saw many cars on the side of the road. We decided to head to the cemetery first where my dad is buried before it got too late. I spent a few minutes talking to him and took some pictures for my mom. I left an Arizona Diamondbacks lanyard wrapped around the vase. I wish I could have stayed longer or visited my uncle and grandfather too but the cemetery was covered with snow, the babies were fussy wanting out of the car and if the weather would have been better, I would have gone back alone. At least I got to go at all I guess. We thought the weather might prevent us from even getting to Tulsa. After we checked into the hotel we met my Uncle Arnold (one of my dads 3 brothers) and Aunt Linda for dinner at Texas Roadhouse and they got to meet the babies. It was so good to see them! Loved that we were able to make that happen and hope we can get back there in the near future to see more of my family. I so wish we all could see each other more but such is life I guess. We will be back though with the kiddos at some point. I want them to know all of their family.

Day 2: 7 hours driving time. Halfway there.

The next morning was an early one. Another 12 hour drive ahead of us into Tennessee. I know the roads may be bad but they were terrible leaving Tulsa. We had to take a toll road to get back to the 40 and there was hardly a road. We drove very slowly. I just kept telling myself as soon we get off this toll road, I am sure they will have cleared some of this and we will be back in business. After about an hour of driving on this I took the exit for the 40 and as the exit curved around, we turned, and suddenly everything disappeared. And I mean everything. I could not see anything in front of me due to the fog, no cars and no road, so I pulled to the side but I couldn't pull too far over or we might get stuck in the snow. Tommy got out of the car to clean the windshield. Suddenly out of the fog a huge semi sped past us. How he saw us, I don't know, but we couldn't stay on the side of the road or we would likely get hit the next time, so I pulled out onto what I thought was a road and continued to drive. Luckily that fog did not last long and I could see again. Still no road though, just a big fat sheet of ice.

As we got closer to Arkansas, the ice was gone and I relaxed a little. The trees in Arkansas were so pretty. The branches were all shiny and crystallized from the ice. They were gleaming trees all around us.I told Tommy the trees looked like glazed donuts. LOL. We stopped just outside of Little Rock for some lunch. We had good ol' southern food. Fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried catfish. Yum. The babies liked the tomatoes and I know not too healthy but its rare we eat like that. I should also mention that for the 2nd or 3rd time this trip when stopped there are no changing tables in the restrooms, which means we were changing their diapers in the front seat of the car and it is freezing outside. Poor babies. Freezing their bums off.

We kept driving into Tennessee and into Nashville where I happened to be born. We continued to Franklin, TN to stay with a dear friend of mine, Mel, who offered us a place to stay. I actually lived in Franklin as a little girl for a short time. I have fond childhood memories there. Mel had dinner ready when we got there and her family was so sweet and welcoming. The kiddos got to play and enjoyed not being stuck in a hotel room with no toys. Tommy and I got to visit with Mel and her husband and we both really enjoyed our time with them.  Once again, I found myself wishing we could have had more time but hopefully we will be back in that area again sometime. I would love to go back to Nashville and Franklin and explore a little.

Day 3: 11 hours driving time. The trio had their best travel day.

The next day we stopped by my old house that I lived in on our way out of town. It was pretty neat to see it again. We always thought it was haunted when we lived there and I would have dreams about it occasionally as I grew up. It seemed to take forever to get out of Tennessee. The longest state ever. The roads were windy and there were more trucks than any part of the trip. This was the last day of our trip though. When we laid our heads down at the end of the day, we were in Charlottesville. Driving through Virginia was beautiful and I cant wait to learn more about the state and find our place here. That night we stayed at the Doubletree hotel. I wish I could say we moved into our house the next day, but that is where the challenging part of this move began, and its a story I don't wish to re hash, so I won't. We had a great road trip and cherish the time we had together as a family, seeing our friends and loved ones, visiting my dad, and seeing new parts of the country.

Day 4: 11 hours drive time. 

Total trip miles - 2330. Total drive time - 41.75 hours.

See pictures from our trip here...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Reflections before the big move...

As we are only days away from our road trip and move to Virgina, I have been reflecting on many things. As with all major life changes, you pause to think about where you are going but also about where you have been. The other night as I was getting ready to go out with two of my closest friends for the last time in awhile, I was listening to familiar old songs that took me back to many different times and places in my life and with many different people. They reminded me of the big life changes I have already made, and when I gazed into the mirror I could see all my faces across the years, all the happiness and sadness, all the fear and life surprises, all the lessons and all the love I have been blessed with. I remember the parts of me I said goodbye to for good, lessons learned, and can still see other parts that will always be a part of who I am.

I thought about my move to Arizona from California at only 19 years old, not a move I really wanted to make but ended up being the best thing for me in the end. I thought about how insecure I was back then and how little I trusted anyone with my thoughts, feelings or my heart, and here I am today sharing them on a blog for the world to see, confidant, and unafraid of what people might think. Moving to Arizona, and the lifelong friends I have made here and even the friends I have lost touch with have definitely encouraged and changed me for the better. Even last Saturday night with Christie and Wendy, I continued to learn about myself from my friends as they shared some very personal insights with me that I so appreciate and love.

I thought about my move to Texas in 2007. I was single and had just been laid off from my job. I was ready for a change and to venture out of my comfort zone again. Even though I was only in Texas for a year that is where I met Tommy so it wasn't all for nothing. That move changed my life forever. I have a husband and three beautiful children to prove it.

Moving back to Phoenix in 2008. Little did I know my dad was getting very sick. Moving back put me in the right place at the right time. How much I would have regretted not being here for his last few months. even though that was some of the hardest months of my life, I cherish that time I got to have with him. All this being said, I am confidant that moving to Virginia will only bring good things. every move I have made in the past has always put me where I needed to be, even though it was scary at first.

Other than all these crazy moves, I have made so many other changes, from the people I keep close to those I let go, to jobs I have had and the professional experiences I have gained and how that also has shaped me as a person. The biggest changes of all of course, becoming a wife and a mother. Starting my own family. How differently I see the world now that I am a mom and how much more I appreciate mine.

This is our last night in this house that has been our home for the the last 4 plus years. The longest I have stayed in one place. We got married while living in this house, Tommy's friends got married here, we brought our babies home to this house. We had many celebrations and many parties. But mostly, we had a lot of normal family nights, loving, laughing, playing, and just being together. So many firsts for our three angels. This home will always hold a special place in my heart.

Starting tomorrow we will be staying with my mom until we leave on Saturday. The hardest part is yet to come. Saying good bye to my mom and to my family. Even though it is not goodbye, it is "see you later", it will be very tough. Once we are on the road I will be looking forward, while trying to enjoy seeing new parts of the country, but for now, I am here a couple more days and am going to try and focus on that and the time I have left in Arizona.

A gift from my work family  - thank you! I will miss you guys!

A night I will cherish with my beautiful girlfriends...

One of the last pictures of the babies in this house...