Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 2013 Bunko Report

One complete year of Bunko in the books.  Though every 3rd Tuesday became a scramble to recruit players, the effort was worth it.  Through our year, we had up to 9 players that were pregnant (the most being 7 present at the March game.)  We saw bizarre weather.  A JJ's explosion.  Ashley A with FIVE bunkos, which quite possibly will never be repeated.  Some accusations of cheating, usually involving Shae, Whitney (or me, which was absolute hearsay, and I refuse to acknowledge these as pertinent).  But seriously, Shae and Whitney cheated. We enjoyed fabulous food, and consumed many beverages. We met new people nearly every month, hosted in our bunko-loving mothers' homes, and reconnected with old classmates.

The official player list comprised of: Me (as Founder and acting President), Leah Krieger, Christin Olsen, Whitney Arthur, Molly Oller, Anna Saviano, Kaitlin McCormick, Annora Smith, Ashley Ascencio, and Ashley Toma.

BUNKOS: Leah, Kaitlin and Ashley Ascencio tied with TWO. 
(I would like to mention, that despite us always calling her the loser, Leah was involved in FOUR Most Bunko attempts, losing twice to roll offs.)

MOST WINS: Annora with THREE.

2nd MOST WINS: Erin with THREE.

LOSER: Erin, Kaitlin and Annora with TWO.

I think that this CLEARLY proves that there is some skill to Bunko, as there are three people who obviously took over the books.
 Cheers!!  Looking forward to an even better 2014.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sweater Party, 7th Annual....er, is it 8th??

I think I have been calling this the 7th Annual O'Laughlin Ugly Christmas Sweater party...but, upon further investigation, turns out that was last year.  This is the EIGHTH!!  Right in tune with my time-lapse related mistake, a lot of the conversation this year involved marveling at the swift passage of time. People were shocked Brock was 5.  Shocked that it's been well over 10 years since we were all in high school.  One of my closest friends, and godparent to me third child, even remarked, it's been 13 years since she has lived in Kansas City (which will change this Summer!)  A few others, who are still single, mentioned that their grandparents have started to suggest that the "biological clock" will soon stop ticking. Yet, none of us really feel older. (And I know a lot of 40 year olds not having children.)

I frequently feel guilty for assessing my patients' metal status by asking the date.  It is pretty rare that I can answer that question without significant hesitation. I recently made the mistake of suggesting that it has only been 5 years since I retired from swimming, but alas, we are approaching 9 years! Year after year passes faster and faster. When [if] I'm 90, I will blink and be 91.  This whole time thing becomes even crazier when put in context of having children.  Thinking back to college, it feels like that was merely a brief moment in my life, yet, Matt and I have produced 4 offspring.  Four additional human beings.  Four tiny little people, running around our home, impacting our lives more than anything before them.  All in about the same amount of time it took us to get through college.  Which means, this too, this wonderful, amazing, extremely adorable time in my life will also become just a fleeting instant.

Besides pointing out that we are rapidly aging.  That time is precious.  To seize the moment.  This topic made me also realize how truly blessed I am to still have a beautiful, evolving home, now 8 years later.  It points out that an endless number of things can completely change in 4 years, yet here we are, 8 years later, celebrating with all of the same family and friends.  Dressed in silly sweaters.  Despite the quick passage of time, the new jobs, the moves, the marriages, the break ups, the children, the travels, we have all managed to remain close.  So, let time march on.  Let us continue to reminisce about the old, fun times, whilst looking forward to the newer, even better times.  Perhaps, the 9th Ugly Sweater Party will be hosted in a newer, improved location.  Or perhaps it will remain at 4300.  Either way, I cannot wait to share my home, food, and time with everyone again.  See you next year.


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Good Mom.

People often accuse me of being a good mom. These accusations are mostly based off photographs, Facebook stati and blog posts.  If they were to hang out inside my head, or even by my side for a couple days, they're tune might change. Would change really. They'd comprehend just how much I hate amusement parks, crowded places, Halloween, lines, Chuck E. Cheese's, Monkey Bizness or really most things kid friendly or kid oriented.  I have no desire to EVER take them to Disney World. They would begin to notice that most of the things which seemingly I "do for the kids" such as getting ice cream, walking to Starbucks (ok, that's obviously for me), going to the zoo, picking berries, selecting pumpkins are actually just something I wanted to do. Though, give me some credit, at least I put a spin on it, making them think its all for them.  Even if, let's say, this outing was for the kid's, I only do it to waste time and get out of the house, as I slightly suffer from claustrophobia.

These accuser's would observe me teasing my harmless breast fed newborn as he is sure of impending death from starvation by offering my chin, mouth or nose to suckle. Which he does. Then quickly stops in a panic as there is no food supply. At least I thank him for his kisches. They would see me rub my face (the well known cue that my miniscule supply of patience has run out) in an effort to not strangle a misbehaved child. Or clenching my teeth or biting my tongue in order not to squeeze too hard a stinking adorable child.  They would witness me racing my 4 year old...and winning. Same goes with most board games or any other challenge the boys' create.  I am the mom that laughs at her 5-year-old when he hits his head on the manger while bowing during the Christmas program. Does a "good mom" do that!?
As you might imagine, after reading the previous paragraphs, a visit to Santa with the children TOPS the dreadful children's activity charts.  This endeavor includes long, chaotic lines, crowds, strangers, and lots of cranky children only to end in putting my child[ren] in the hands (or on the lap, as it were) of a complete stranger.  I took Brock at age one, feeling the tremendous pressure as a first time mom to do "the right thing" and get the obligatory Santa picture.  I vowed, never again.  The picture was crap.  I paid $8 for it.  I was hot, Brock was tired.  Not worth it.  No even close. Therefore, we never returned again.  Until now...three kids later.

We purchased a membership to Union Station.  I have found it to have multiple children's activities.  It is very open.  And rarely busy. Shhh, don't tell anyone.  So, when I read that they have Santa visit for 5 days, brought to Kansas City on a train named, "Rudy" and that you could actually SCHEDULE a time to visit, I saw opportunity.  Maybe I don't have to deprive my children of the wonderful "Santa experience".  This is perfect.  Well, after much searching, I never could find out anymore specifics, or where exactly one could sign up for this so-called scheduled Santa visit.  I decided to go for it anyway, it was a Thursday night, and as previously stated, Union Station seems to be a somewhat well-hidden KC secret.  I'll take my chances.  For the kids (it wasn't at all because they were all acting bonkers and tearing the house apart, top to bottom).  We arrive at 7pm, an hour before closing, only to find out that the line is shut down.  Apparently, they stop letting people in at 7pm, though everywhere online says 8pm.

We continue to wander, and I hear, "Mrs. Smith! Hey!"  One of my brother's friends (who just so happens to be in charge of letting people in and out) recognizes me...and we are in. Phew.  Santa had a bleak future prior to this not-so-surprising connection to one of the employees.  We ride down to the exhibit in the largest elevator, ever to have existed, I am quite sure.  It was larger than the bedroom I am sitting in, right now!  The doors open, we get directed to the line and surprise!  There are only about 5 families ahead of us.  Not only that, but after visiting with Santa, who is surrounded by merry elves, the boys get to board and tour a real train. 

As we stand in line, I prepare the boys, making sure they understand that a picture is expected.  I always pump them up/bribe them for pictures.  It works best that way.  Brock has been observing the Santa happenings, and tells me, he'd rather just stay with me and not visit with him.  I explain that I will be nearby.  Then I see Curtis watching, and can tell by his eyes that he is becoming more and more apprehensive as the line shortens.  George is blissfully unaware of the situation completely.  We get to the front.  I set George in Santa's lap, an elf takes Mitch to Mrs. Claus, Matt sternly forces Brock into the photo, Curtis is just crying, the elf insists I come take George "because they will smile and feel more comfortable in mom's lap", I am mad I am going to be in the picture, and hysterically laughing at my ridiculous brood. And done.  Photo snapped.

We then walk to the train, where George starts crying at nearly every turn because he is now certain those "merry elves" are out to get him.  The train is filled with Christmas memorabilia, one care being full of creepy Santa figurines.  They are all a bit nervous through that car.  We get to the end.  Take a few more pictures in front of "Rudy". The boys get a bag full of candy, crayons, puzzles, and we walk back through the old, grand train station, to our car.  Five minutes into the drive, Brock asks, "How much longer, I'm ready for bed." To which Curtis says, "yeah".  They are all smiling and content.

Mission accomplished.  Short line. No crowds. Free.  Gifts for the kids. Bedtime upon arrival at home.  A hilarious picture.  And never taking the kids back to Santa, guilt free, as I am sure they were all sufficiently scarred.  Oh, except Mitch.  The happy baby, smiling at his brothers' chaos and misfortunes, as per usual, with no regard for strangers.  Perhaps he will want to go back.  And, like a "good mom", I will take him - when I feel like it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Unmentionables.

I'm not supposed to talk about it.  I am supposed to pretend that the thought of having another child is a distant, and unimaginable thing at this moment. I think I am even supposed to pretend that I have decided our family is complete. And, to some degree it is.  I fully plan to find a job, finish residency, move, get a dog, potty train a couple children and get rid of a lot of clothes, toys and other things before I would even consider adding a fifth [boy] to our pack.  But, nevertheless I am seriously considering another child, someday.

I know this even more, now that Mitch is 2 months old.  He sleeps at least 6 hours every night now. I don't feel even a whisper of sleep deprivation.  He is extremely ticklish in his groin, and slightly on his ribs, under his chin and the bottom of his feet.  He is developing a wrist roll.  I've never had a baby with fat rolls. His eye color is still indeterminable.  He is absolutely precious, a cuddler, LOVES to be warm.  No amount of blankets is too many blankets for Mitch. When I sit in the evening and hold him, sleeping soundly on my chest, I lean down and kiss his little forehead. Continually.  As Matt sits and holds him in the evening, I catch him doing the same.  Every so often, Matt will even say, "I love him, Erin."  It's incredible.  Each and every one of them.  Each and every time.  They are amazing.  They love each other. They love me.  They love their father.  We have so much fun together.  I could tear up every time I take a moment to just love on and admire my little creations.

Sure, Matt found an app that calculates how much each child costs per year and it is $16,000. Not cheap! We make over double what we did the day Matt bought that home, nearly 8 years ago, yet continue to live in the same financial bracket. That being said, imagine a Mastercard commercial here, where I could list all the ridiculous expenses, like nearly $200 a month on diapers alone.  In the end, I'd call them priceless.  I didn't leave the house yesterday (for probably only the 3rd time since we've lived there) and I still could have photographed every moment.  Brock playing outside in the snow with nothing but a coat, PJ's, gloves and rubber boots.  Curtis, hanging all the ornaments on the tree on one branch, annoying, yet oh so adorable. Brock drawing a portrait of his mother and father AND writing our names, for the first time ever. Holding my Mitch, making him giggle, enjoying his facial expressions. George, disappearing for a moment and returning with lotion all over his hair, and a little drooling from his mouth.  He loves this Aloe lotion.  And by loves, I mean the taste of it, or the texture. George walking around with a toy drill to his head. George, laughing while pretending to cry as he gets tackled by his brothers {and mom}.  All of them, head over heels, ecstatic to decorate the tree (which had to be postponed, as I quickly learned I need to purchase some 'kid-friendly' ornaments this year).
I spent a day, just enjoying the madness.  Love on all 4 of my children. Spending time with Matt.  And though I felt a little anxious, and crazed, none of that was because of the children.  It was all because of the looming feeling that I have SOOOO much work to do, outside of the home.  A license to apply for, 2 lectures to create, a research project, job interviews, Holiday parties, gifts to wrap and purchase, photos to print, cards to send out, pants to buy for Brock, groceries to buy, laundry and the list goes on, and on, and on.  Therefore, as I said above.  I am not supposed to mention that a fifth child is a distinct possibility.  That idea is absurd...until I really look at my life, and see that all I want to do, and talk about, and be around, is my little family.  They do not cause me stress, not one bit.  It's all those other things that interfere.  So, why would I not want to add to the chaos?
Shhhh...you didn't hear that from me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Santaland

While preparing dinner tonight (yes, I cook sometimes), I heard the boys playing in the other room. They were pulling off all the blankets, pillows and cushions from the couch in an attempt to create a "bouncy house". This is a very regular occurrence. But tonight, tonight it was different. I hear Brock say, "Let's make a Santaland Bouncy House!" Curtis, excitedly obliges, "OK, Brock!"

I kind of forgot about the insanity going on next door, until I heard this: "Do you know what I want, Santa? Santa!? Do you know what I want? One thousand brothers."

That boy. I love this statement for two reasons. First, I love that he enjoys his brothers so much, he wants more. And second, even in his imagination the person he's talking to doesn't respond immediately. True to life.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thank List.

One}  I am thankful for Matt.  If you read the preceding post about Brock, you could just adultify it a bit and that would describe me.  Matt absolutely, unquestionably loves and trusts me, despite my innumerable idiosyncrasies that I insist on forcing upon my entire little family.  He so patiently photographs the boys, over and over and over.  He cleans the house and cooks for these events I plan and host, despite having no time to do so. Sometimes, I think he actually finds my psychosis endearing.  Never, have I ever, met a more loyal, wonderful, funny - no, hilarious - happy, cynical person. I could not be who I am, nor where I am in life without him.  So, more than anything, I am thankful for Matt.
Two} I am thankful for health.  For my health, but mostly, my children's health, my husband's health as well as my, and his family's health.  We are lucky.  Usually, I don't like to use the word "lucky". I feel that mostly, you control your place in life, but actual genetics is, in fact, luck. The family you are born into is luck.  Admittedly, no one in my family is the picture of health, in that, we eat good food.  I don't mean "good for you food", I mean good food.  Filled with saturated fats, and sugars and Gluten and lactose.  We are active, but don't necessarily exercise regularly.  So, I feel, our health can be attributed a lot to luck.  Therefore, I am so thankful that my boys were born with good immune systems.  That all of our parents are still alive and involved in our children's lives. Without our health, again, I could not be who I am, nor where I am in life.

Three} I am thankful for family.  I feel like I say this all the time, yet not enough.  I could never stop thanking my parents, Matt's parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins for their help and support.  Mimi takes the boys to school 3 days a week.  This is not a small job.  And every day she takes them, she is forced to break Brock's heart by saying "no" to him coming over after school.  As I know he asks every single time.  She lets him, very frequently, probably more often then she should.  And he LOVES it.  Annora, my mom, and Mimi take the boys on little excursion's constantly.  I don't think my children even notice that they have two, full-time, working parents.  Their schedules are just to busy to allow them even a moment of down time.  Nearly every Sunday, we enjoy a family dinner.  All of our Holidays are jam-packed with family events, food, gifts and fun.  When Matt abandons me and leaves town with a newborn plus multiple other children, the grandparents do not even hesitate to step in and help. No matter the madness, there is always someone there for us.  Always someone willing to assist.  If ever, people wonder what the heck I am thinking having 4 children, as well as considering more (and I know they do wonder) they just need look at the people I grew up around, and I feel it's very obvious.  Nothing is more valuable than family.  And more then the previous, without family, I could not be who I am, nor where I am in life.
Four} I am thankful for my brain.  Maybe that's a selfish thing to say.  Or seems a bit cocky.  But I am simply saying, I am thankful for the brain I was born with.  The personality it produced. I love that I have endless energy.  That I am driven, motivated and passionate.  I've never been any other way, so I can't really compare, but I think it makes life more fun to be this way.  I love that I love so much.  I love that my mood is generally always positive.  I have come to terms with and learned how to control (most of the time) my lack of patience, short fuse, and loud mouth.  I enjoy good company.  I love my job as a physician and that I was given a brain that could perform this skill with competence and proficiency.  Without my brain, I could not be who I am, or where I am in life.

Five} I am thankful for my wealth.  I am not saying I have lots of money, but I never "want for anything".  There is never a question that food will be on the table.  Our clothes are not tattered, worn or unclean (well, besides Curtis).  We have a fabulous roof over our head. Matt and I have a constant, steady income. We grew up in stable, wealthy homes.  Again, I use wealth as a term not specifically pertaining to money.  We are wealthy in love, friendship and health as well.

Six}  I am thankful for friends.  This can almost go under the "family" category, as good friends are as good as family.  If not better.  You choose your friends.  So rarely do you have to put up with personalities that are not necessarily compatible with your own.  In family, you learn to put up with these differences, but with friends, you simply don't click, so why continue the relationship.  Six of our closest friends have been asked to be Godparents.  I feel this is stating, if you could be family, you would be.  They too, can be relied on for a helping hand, a sympathetic ear and a night out of fun and good company.  Or a night in of board games, beer and friendly(ish) conversation.  Friends visit when we have a new baby.  Bring gifts and dinner.  Friends provide fun mommy play dates when I am home with the boys all day.  Friends enrich and optimize my life.

Seven}  I am thankful that the list of things to be thankful for could go on, and on, and on.  I could get down to specifics.  I could write a book.  I am thankful for our giant, Giblin-family thanksgiving.  I am thankful for our small, O'Laughlin-family thanksgiving.  I am thankful for a father that understands that you can only visit so many families in one day, but knows I love him despite not seeing him every holiday.  I could just thank, and thank, and thank.  And after all that thanking, I hope everyone reading this can do the same.  I wish everyone could experience life in this way.  I guess I am a bleeding heart, at heart.  Happy, thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Shark.

I've said it before, if Brock were born to any other mother, I believe they would label him has a "difficult child".  His energy is endless. Absolutely and utterly endless.  The child never stops moving.  As a newborn he was no fun to hold, and to this day, he is no fun to have on your lap.  We have gone so far as to nickname him "The Shark", as I am certain, like a shark, he would die if he stopped moving.  That is the only thing that could possibly explain his fidgety nature.  Lucky for him, I too, seem to have an endless amount of energy and struggle to sit still.  I've mostly attributed my condition to Restless Legs, but it's probably due in part to a lack of patience and attention span.  Which, more and more, I see is the same for him.
Brock has also been accused (mostly by my siblings and his grandparents) of being "anal", or "stubborn", or "particular" or "picky".  I can't fault the kid.  He knows what he wants.  He knows how he likes it.  And he's not afraid to demand it that way.  This can get irritating at times, but I have known him for his entire 5 years of existence, can generally guess which particularities he might have, and often fend off a melt down by presenting things in a certain way.  The fact that his idiosyncrasies are so consistent and predictable actually make him my "easiest child".  That, and his advanced age helps.

The wheels never stop spinning in that kid's head.  And, I know, I know, all kid's "say the darndest things" but I don't think all kids, ALWAYS say the darndest things.  I keep a list on my phone of funnies, and they are nearly all Brock.  And he has been doing this since before Curtis' age.  I am not saying he is actually a funny person, because he's not.  He's a pretty serious dude.  But to the adult ear, his hypothesis', explanations, thoughts, and antics are hilarious.  The other day, I heard him out in the hallway, crying and yelling, and getting so very extremely frustrated (oh yeah, did I mention he has no patience, gets easily frustrated which results in a slight anger management problem?)  I asked what the problemo was? He exclaimed, "My feet are itching!!"  Wow.  Well, that's easy. "Then itch them Brock."  To which he starts crying/whining/getting angry again and says, "Ugh.  I can't!  My toenails are in the way!!"  You can guess what I did next: laughed.  Brock has also gotten so frustrated with his eyelashes, that he has requested they be trimmed.  When his lips are chapped, he whines and asks me for lipstick because his "lips are jammed."

One of his most recent developments is a method to tattle on his brothers.  Which I actually appreciate. A LOT.  If I am in another room, I will suddenly hear, "George Alert! George Alert! George Alert! George Alert!" This will go on until I ask Brock what his brother is doing.  Brock will then kindly explain that George is trying to insert something in the CD drive, or open the garage door, or has dumped out all his cereal and is stomping on it, or any other various annoying, devastating or dangerous things that toddlers are so famous for and skilled at performing. He does the same for Curtis.

Overall, I just hope Brock continues to have this palpable passion for life.  His excitement, and love is infectious.  His grandmother's have a very difficult time telling him "No" to ANYTHING because he so visibly over-joyed to be given or allowed to do "special things".  He does not want to miss an experience. Does not miss a detail. His memory is impeccable.  His hearing excellent (do not, for a minute, assume he is not listening.  In fact, he will inform you that he "has his ear plugs in" when he is purposefully trying to act like he can't hear you.)  His ability to process information is astounding. 

Brock is five.  I have lived with this little ball of energy, for five years.  I have loved every minute, even the frustrating ones.  I feel like anyone who meets him can see why I would have three more boys to follow.  Everyday is something new, entertaining, amusing, and love-filled.  Happy Birthday to my little Shark.  And many more.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Time For a Day in the Life: Work Day with a newborn and 4th child.

 Recently, the mother-in-law of a good friend asked me, "How did you manage to get 26 hours in a day, and the rest of us are stuck with only 24?" To which I replied, "Guess I have friends in the right places."  I've been getting these kind of comments a lot lately.  A few people have even asked me to run through a typical day for them.  So, I decided it was time for a description of what exactly goes on behind the seemingly non-tired, unphased, energetic facade that I have so skillfully mastered.

A Day in the Life: Work & School Day with a newborn and 4th child.

5:47 am - Mitch wakes up to eat, likely because one of his 2 older brothers (even more likely it's Curtis) has opened our bedroom door and called out, "Mommy" while standing directly next to the pack 'n play where he resides.  If this doesn't happen, I might get an extra 20-60 minutes of sleep (but it almost always happens.) I then get Mitch and feed him.  Matt tries to convince Brock and Curtis to go back to bed, explaining, "It's too early!!"  Eventually, he gives up and showers.  I try to get Mitch back to sleep.

6:45 am - Mitch is fed and back asleep.  I am up getting dressed for work.  During this time, Curtis is begging me over, and over, and over to "come downstairs".  He and/or Brock are asking for a snack, or a drink, or to read a book, or to play.  They are touching my hairbrush.  My toothbrush.  Asking me when I'm going to be done.  Inquiring as to whether it's a "Mommy Daddy day?" Which, obviously, it isn't as we are both up and dressing for work.  If it were a Mommy-daddy day, we'd both still be in bed getting annoyed at them for being up, forcing them to play on the iPad while we get some extra shut eye.  Getting mad at them for opening our blinds. Letting them destroy our bedroom. Et cetera. How have they not picked up on this pattern!?  They seem like such bright boys...except before 8am.

7:00 am - To the relief of both older boys, I have finally finished dressing, and am now downstairs.  Though, I am bewildered by their relief as I have to get out the door in the next 5 minutes, and I am going to continue to say 'no' to their barrage of questions.  No, I cannot get you a drink. No, Kerry will give you your gummy bears (vitamins, duh people). No, milk and juice are "drinks" and I already said no to that!  No, I cannot get you a snack.  Ok, fine, if I give you some cereal will you leave me alone!?

7:05 am - I am still helping out the children. Kerry is now here for relief.

7:09 am - I finally get to the door.  Now I feel bad.  I am going to leave my kids, and I have just been telling them "no" all morning.  So, I search them out to kiss them goodbye.  I hear George now awake in his room.  Do I go in and say goodbye?  This is at least another 3 minute delay.  Oh great, he's in there saying "Momma" now, over and over in his sweet little voice.  Ugh, I'm going in there.

7:13 am - I am in the car.  I forgot my ID.  I run back in the house.  Brock exclaims, "Mom is home already!!" George comes running to greet me at the front door with his arms open, grin huge, stating, "Momma" as if he didn't just see me 30 seconds ago, and I've been gone for an entire 8 hour day.  Even Tater is excited...but he's an idiot, we expect that from him.  I say, "No, nope, not home, haven't left.  Love you all. Bye!" And I am back out the door.

7:16 am - Time for my daily internal Starbucks debate. If I stop, there is no way I can get to clinic by 7:45 on the off chance one of my patients has actually checked in 10 minutes early and is awaiting my knock on the door (which has never happened, by the way.)  But if the line is short or even better, non-existent, I can get there by 7:54.  I'm stopping. I order my usual Caramel latte with skim milk.  I say hello to whomever I know, perhaps chat a bit too long, and am on the road by 7:23.

7:54 am - Time now for my parking lot debate: North docs lot, South docs lot, patient parking out front, patient parking right by the clinic?  North lot.  I often sit for a moment, sip my coffee, finish listening to "War of the Roses" or a good song, or whatever subject Afentra and Danny are discussing.

7:59 am - I begin logging into the computer at my desk.

8:05 am - I am finally into eCare and can begin seeing my patients.  If any are roomed.  I'll spare the details here, as those would require a post (or three) of their own. Suffice it to say, I feel rushed, the ENTIRE clinic.  I begin to panic a bit around 9:30 because my pumping time is approaching.  Try as I might to avoid it, I always leave a patient waiting in a room for about 20 minutes while I pump.  This causes me significant guilt, anxiety and throws off the entire flow of my clinic.

11:56 am - I have finished with my last patient.  I have about 25 minutes left of documenting to do, and about 60 unanswered work emails, patient messages or results, faxes that need sending, and any other numerous office-type work to complete.  I begin to make a dent in this.

12:37 pm - I am starting to get really hungry.  As you may have noticed, I never mentioned eating.  This is because I haven't.  Some days I remember to grab a NutriGrain bar or something of the like, but most days I don't. There's milk in my coffee, right? Mitch is home, and he is likely getting hungry.  Do I stay and get to more of the work that I desperately need to finish?  Do I waste precious moments and run to the cafeteria to get my $6 lunch?  More often than not, I decide no to both, and I take off for home.

1:21 pm - George is napping.  Brock and Curtis are at school. Now, I can avoid pumping for a second time, and personally feed my teeny, little abandoned newborn.  It's such a relief to be home.  Work will just have to wait.  There is always tomorrow, right?  Just as I begin to nurse Mitch, I hear George jumping up and down in his crib.  He doesn't seem too upset, so I finish up with the baby.  Mitch isn't quite ready to be set down, so he cries as I get George and change him.  I really want to immediately pick the baby back up, but George needs his "hon" which is drink.  Yeah, I don't know either, don't ask. I get him a drink. I pick up the baby.  The baby needs changing.  I change the baby.  George wants a snack.  He is following me around crying and grabbing onto my leg.  I get him a snack.  I try to rock Mitch asleep.  I hear a drawer open in the nursery.  Damnit.  George is getting into the top drawer of the changing table.  AGAIN.  I am so tired of picking up Q-tips.  Mitch is getting more and more agitated because he just wants to fall asleep and keeps getting interrupted.

2:30 pm - Mitch is not going to be happy about this, but it's time to put him in the infant carrier and run to pick up the older two from school.  I get George's shoes on, and take them to the car. Mitch screams the whole way.  I mean, he even stops breathing sometimes.  I can tell he is panicked and sure that he has been completely abandoned.  He is a snuggler, a people person, loves to see your face.

2:39 pm - I lug the 2 babies into school to pick up the 2 older brothers.  I have to carry George and the baby through the play ground, or it would take 15 minute to walk from point A to point B.  My wrist and back are aching.  I'm hot.  I'm a bit stressed.  Or frazzled really.  Do I get Brock or Curtis first?  I almost always pick Curtis, I don't know why, just seems like the right choice.  Recently, though, I found out from Brock and his teacher that it's "really cool" and "awesome" and "the best thing ever" if YOUR mom is the FIRST mom to pick up in the afternoon.  Great, another thing to feel guilty about as a mom. Looks like I need to change up the routine.  I spend the next 5 minutes trying to corral the kids out the door, making sure they have their jacket, lunch box, back pack, art work and any other loose item.  And then we are faced with that damn playground, again.  I can't very well carry all 4 of them past this obstacle, so we play for a few minutes.  Luckily, I have trained them that it is imperative we leave before the bell rings at 3pm for the "big kid's school" or else we will be trapped at school forever (which I don't think is far from the truth). 

3:00 pm - Saved by the bell.  We all walk to the car.  At this point, I am always sure we are the cutest little sight anyone has ever seen.  I am carrying the baby, while the other 3 mobile boys hold one another's hand.  Adorable, right!?  Then I load all 4 into their 4 carseats (well, Brock can buckle himself in, thank goodness).  Now what?  Is it nice out?  Then snack and the park.  Or ice cream at Foo's with Magra.  Or home to feed Mitch again.  Or the park with some friends.  Or a walk.  Is it not nice out?  Then I'm bummed.  Home it is, to take out every toy, in every room of the house. And heaven forbid I step one single foot in that kitchen without feeding all the kids and getting them a drink.  Remember those incessant questions from this morning?  Magnify them by 10 and add tired crankiness from a long day at school.  Let me just say, from 3pm until bedtime, there is A LOT of crying.  I repeat, A LOT of crying.  And some whining.  There is definitely some wrestling, tickling, tackling and laughter too.  But lots of crying.

5ish pm - Matt and I have the daily debate called "What's for dinner".  This ends up being anything from frozen pizza or fish stick's to carry out from the Blue Moose and anything in between.  The kid's don't even eat much.  They had too many snacks because I walked into the kitchen more than once. They are usually mad at whatever decision we make, anyway.  More crying.  Every so often, we get "the good food dance" from Brock...this makes the meal much more smooth and enjoyable.  George eats anything, our "Human garbage disposal". Mitch needs to be held through the whole meal. Always.

6-7:45pm - The SLOWEST two hours of the day.  I know, I know I should be so happy to spend this time with my children.  And I am.  But bedtime never comes soon enough. They are just nuts by this time of night.  Exhausted. Hyperactive. Adorable. You name it.  Some nights this is a great opportunity for bath time.  Sometimes an evening walk.  Sometimes a movie and popcorn.  Mostly, it's time to take all the pillows off the couch and create a "bouncy house" where inevitably somebody gets bounced on...more crying. Oh, and Mitch is eating, and requiring to be held the ENTIRE time.  Sometimes you can put him down for a moment while he takes a quick catnap.

7:45 pm - George gets changed, his jammies put on, teeth brushed, ZeeZee sequestered, and he is put to bed.  Goodnight George.

7:51 pm - The 3 minute bedtime resistance routine begins.  Brock has NEVER successfully postponed bedtime, but I'll give it to him, that kid has tenacity. Curtis, on the other hand, is waiting pitifully at the bottom of the stairs because he has suddenly gotten so very tired.  He loves bed.  They both trudge upstairs.  Then they get a second wind and want to play with all their bedroom toys.  NO.  We spend 10 minutes trying to get them into their pajamas.  We brush teeth, never a chore, they like this routine.  We read a book (after an argument as to who gets to pick it out, or complaint over the choice of read).  We give kisses, turn on the noise-maker, turn out the light.  And Brock's second 3 minute attempt at post-poning bedtime begins.  He either claims he did not get a "hug" or a "kiss" or an "I love you" (to which he did receive all three) or he says "quesion" and will yell my or his father's name until we finally come back in to answer the question.  During this entire process, one parent is caring for Mitch (usually me).

8:11 pm - Silence. 

8:12-11ish pm - Matt and I clean the kitchen.  Pick up some toys. Feed the dog.  Perhaps then watch a show or two.  Or he edits photos.  I generally just hold Mitch...he won't let me put him to bed just yet.  I wish I could reply to some emails. Finish addressing Mitch's announcements.  Blog.  Post, edit, print photos.  Read.  Eat something.  Then, finally, we decide Mitch is out enough to be put to bed.  Or I feed him again. Then we go to bed.

3:31 am - Mitch wakes up.  Matt changes his diaper.  I feed him in bed.

4:42 am - I wake up and realize Mitch and I fell asleep.  Do I leave him here or take him back?  50/50 chance I'll do either.

5:47 am - "Mommy!?"



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Ladies Man

Curtis has been a bit under the weather.  The only reason this is apparent is because his energy level drops, and he is a bit quicker to cry.  Otherwise, you would be none the wiser.  Last night, I called him into the kitchen to give him his medicine.  After gulping down that yummy, pink amoxicillin, he exclaimed, "I feel happy now!"  (To which Matt and I laughed and immediately began quoting Monty Python.  "I'm not dead yet. I feel fine.") The thing is, he really did.  His mood was instantly better.  That is Curtis for ya.  Always has been.  Back when he was a newborn, I wondered whether his happy little demeanor would change.  Now, at a solid three years old, I can say it hasn't.  I hope it won't.  I don't want the obstacles, people, emotions, experiences of life to knock any of that exuberant light out of him.  I want him to continue to make people smile by his mere presence.

We have begun calling him "The Ladies Man" for a few reasons, not the least of which being that he only says "Hi, what's your name" with the biggest, cheesy smile to attractive, young women while on walks.  Conveniently ignoring the elderly and any male persons.  This method of his works!!  If you ask any of my friends or family, the 20 and early 30 something females all choose Curtis as their favorite!  At age three, he got game.  He also will blindly join in any game, bramble, tickling match or situation where people are laughing.  He will attempt to smooth over any situation where someone is crying.  While jumping on a trampoline in the backyard of a good friend, two 3 year-old girls began fighting over a toy.  Curtis, without prompting, crawled over to these girls and offered his toy to the one without.  She instantly stopped crying, even smiled and eeked out a timid, "thank you".  Curtis turned to me, with his irresistible, huge grin, puffed out his chest and said, "I made her happy, mommy!" I would say that I am insanely jealous of his future spouse...but then I remember that in addition to referring to him as 'The Ladies Man', we also call him our 'Dirty child', envision Pig Pen from Snoopy.  Yup, that's our Curty boy.  So, nevermind about all that; hire a weekly cleaning lady, that's my advice.
None of this is to say that Curtis is void of the normal 3-year-old behaviors.  He insists on being independent in everything, despite being unable to complete most of these tasks.  He wants to pour his own milk, put on his shoes, carry his plate, cut his food, ride any and every bike, walk across the street, climb all playground equipment, you name it; ALONE.  Failure to do so, results in a little tantrum.  Ok, by little tantrum, I mean a full blown tantrum.  Often in front of the mirror, watching himself to make sure the tears look real and convincing, the frown exaggerated enough and the eyes pleading enough to get the point across.  I just laugh, and make fun of him.  Again, even in his frustrating, unwarranted, ridiculous anger, he makes me smile.

Curtis speaks with a little lisp.  I think it's still cute, and I'm pretty sure it will go away on its own.  His hair is thin, course and all over the place.  Still at a loss as to what to do with it.  Size wise, he is just above average in both height and weight, fitting in quite nicely with his peers - which is how he's want it, I think. He has only just begun to attempt to pee and poop in the potty.  Have a ways to go on that end. He loves school.  The teachers love him - mostly because he doesn't cry and happily walks in to play, unlike a lot of his classmates. He will eat carrots, lettuce, bananas and applesauce.  Otherwise, it's meat and potatoes.  And by potatoes, I mean in the form of chips or fries. Oh, I almost forgot!  He ate 6 pieces of broccoli the other day, because Brock and I were having so much fun taking the "trees" through each of the seasons, like I did as a kid.

And though Curtis seems too busy concerning himself with others happiness to remember that he is now three, Brock being the thoughtful (controlling) older brother that he is, so kindly offered to remind him. Happy 3rd birthday to my second child.  My peacemaker.  My sweet boy.  My little ray of sunshine.  My Ladies Man.  My dirty child.  My Curtis.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mitch, paleeease!

Mitch woke up this morning looked me straight in the eyes and said "gooooo".  To do this, his mouth makes what appears to be a near smile.  He uses all the muscles of his face.  You could see the intense concentration it took to make this teeny, adorable, heart-melting little sound.  It felt as if my sleepy little newborn knows he just turned one month old and decided to wake up.  I love his happy, wide-eyed morning hours.  This is nearly the only time he remains awake without being in a panic that he may starve to death. His behavior is so reminiscent of his older brother, Curtis.  As newborns, these two transitioned instantly from sound, undisturbable sleep to screaming, starved cries.  I would be lying if I didn't admit to teasing them a bit, and making fun of the ridiculous idea that I might not feed them sometime in the very near future.  Chill out, little dude.

There is a very good chance Mitch will use a pacifier.  He nurses like a champ, and at over 12lbs, I believe he ranks as my largest 1 month old to date.  Curtis being a very, very close second.  I'm packing away the newborn/0 to 3 month clothes and finishing out this last box of Size 1 Swaddlers.  The "one month" onesie that fit George perfectly, may have been cutting off all circulation to Mitchell's arms.  In an effort to demonstrate just how big this 'little boy' appears, I'll mentions an incident from the other day.  A co-worker's husband, who happened to be standing nearby as Matt shot the one month photos, asked, "How old is he?" To which, Matt replied, "Is that a joke?"  The guy just kind of laughed, and said "Oh yeah! I'm pretty sure my daughter wasn't even that big at four months."  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't put too much stock in a newborn's size.  In fact, George proves it to absolutely make no difference in the kid's final size.  He was my largest at birth by a pound, and at a year and a half is my smallest on the charts.  But it makes me a little sad that most of my newborn clothing has been worn only 4 times (once by each child) before it gets packed away, mostly because this is an obvious indicator of growth, time and maturity.

There are a million milestones to look forward to every day.  I cannot wait to see if Mitch loses that dark hair and those dark(ish) eyes to follow in his brothers' footsteps or remains brown like his mom. I am curious to see if he will outgrow Brock, and remain my tallest, heaviest kid.  Will he be an athlete as I predicted while he was growing in my belly?  Or will he absolutely lack any coordination whatsoever and become somewhat of an engineering nerd like his father?  Will he, too, be a happy, happy baby, toddler and kid?  Will the hair ever disappear from the edge of his ears!?  What will his first word be?  Will he crawl at 4 months like Curtis?  Or pretty much go straight to walking by 10 months like Brock?  Will he not do anything like the 3 preceding him and shock me completely?  Already I see expressiveness that approaches George's face-making skills...but to surpass that little, comical genius would be impressive.

All I do know about Mitch, is that I love him as much as the other three.  From the moment I saw that face.  It hit me hard.  Maybe the routine of it all, the pregnancy the same, the delivery the same, all of it the same as three times before.  Maybe that made me forget that despite the monotony of the whole child creating process, there is NO monotony to each individual child.  They come out completely, and utterly they're own person. They do not dip into my love pool, but expand it, infinitely.  Mitch does nothing but make my days brighter (ok, and busier).  He makes me relax, and smile, and appreciate my husband, children, family, friends, and life.

His brother's LOVE him.  If Curtis does not know where I have lain the baby, he always asks.  He must know where his brother is at all times.  He tells everyone about "Baby Mitch" and introduces him to his teachers, strangers at the park or anyone he can whenever the opportunity arrises.  Brock consistently gazes into Mitch's eyes and remarks "he's so cute."  George gives him the same sloppy, sticky, slobbering kisses he affords us, and frequently this lands in poor Mitchell's eye.  The three older brothers seem totally aware and even excited that their family has changed permanently and is a group of 6 now.  Matt has already begun with the nicknaming...and what I mean by that is, he enjoys replacing most expletives that normally contain the word for a female dog, with 'Mitch'.  I.E. Son of a Mitch. Or Mitch's be trippin'. Or Mitch, paleeeese!

What I'm trying to say, is at one month, Mitch has become a vital member of the family.  We are all settled and couldn't be happier.  Thanks to my Mitch for making our family even more complete and vibrant.  We love you, man.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Operation Brunch KC

So, being in residency, having 4 kids, as well as always pregnant or nursing, has put a major damper in my dining habits.  Also, there seems to be a developing trend in creative brunches at most restaurants.  I suddenly feel totally out of the loop, and like I am missing out on a huge culture that has developed here in KC as well as some incredible food.  In addition, I can finally enjoy a Mimosa or Bloody Mary to boot!!!!  It is also easier to find sitters for a random weekend morning, than taking away someone's evening hours.  Therefore, I have decided to make it my goal to try a different brunch location, anytime the opportunity to get out arises.  Mostly, I hope to enjoy these with my husband, but some alone time with my adult friends is ALWAYS welcome (and occasionally preferred. Sorry honey - oh wait, who am I kidding? He doesn't read my blog; HE LIVES IT).
  • The Bristol
  • Oak 63
  • Beer Kitchen
  • Rye
  • Room 39
  • Urban Table
  • Tomfooleries
  • Farmhouse
  • Succotash
  • Louie's Wine Dive
  • The Jacobsen
  • Bluebird Bistro
  • EggCt
  • The Blue Moose
  • The Classic Cup
  • Andres
  • Coal Vines
  • Poco's
  • Port Fonda
  • Blue Grotto
  • West Side Local
  • Jerry's Cafe
Feel free to respond with any missing locations!! And I don't want to talk about the fact the Sharp's no longer exists.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tid Bits

Brock asked to get his eyelashes trimmed, because they are "too long".  Nice problem to have...ugh boys.

As I was sipping my coffee and feeding the baby, Brock says, "Mom, are you giving Mitch coffee milk?"  I guess maybe I am.

Matt received a "pooper scooper" from his parents for his 30th birthday.  Apparently, Brock had suggested this gift, claiming, "it's what he's always wanted."

While on a walk, we were traveling West through a busy intersection. The light was red, so Brock  began waving to all the Eastbound traffic.  He was doing so by slightly waving his cupped hand and riding his too-small tricycle.  Every person smiled/laughed and waved back...every single one.  I'd like to think he made everyone on 71st and Mission at that time, a little bit happier.

Lately, we refer to Curtis as "the ladies man".  This is because he only talks to young (20-30's) attractive females when at the park or on a walk, and always starts the conversation with a "Wha, wha, what's yur name?"  Not a bad pick up line.

When driving home from Shawnee Mission Park (a huge park about 30 minutes away) after the Symphony in the Park event, Brock asked if we were in Kansas City yet?  I asked him where he thought we had come from, and he laughed and said, "St. Louis, Mom!!!!" As if I should have known this, because obviously we were just in the Lou.  Apparently, a 30 minute drive and a 4 hour drive are pretty equivalent in a 4-year-old's mind.

One night, we pulled in the driveway, and an item we had brought home from a garage sale made a load noise as we came to a stop.  Brock asked what it was, completely convinced it was something alive.  Matt insisted it wasn't, and told Brock he would show him, to which Brock began nervously jumping around trying to decide if he should take his father's word.  Eventually, Brock came up with a solution, and informed Matt that he was "fired from the house if something living is in the trunk."  I think Matt secretly wished something was living in the trunk and that he could, in fact, be fired from the household.

George twists an Oreo in half, eats the stuffing, then the cookie.  No one else does this.  It's just how he naturally eats it!

Brock often wants to "cuddle" which I put in quotations because his version of cuddling is like no one else's as he NEVER STOPS MOVING. Today, I asked him if he had "restless legs", so which he nodded and said, "Don't forget itchy ears..." then a moment later "...and itchy toes."  Speaking of which, the other day, I found him crying and whining in the hall about his itchy toes. And suddenly he calls out, "Ugh, I cannot itch my toes because my toenails are in the way!!"


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Babies Don't Keep.

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1921- )

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

 I found this poem exactly a year ago.  I saved it.  I think about it a lot.  Then, after I had Mitch, I realized that I had never identified with it more.  Though he is only my 4th, not the fifth child, I completely know what this mother was writing about.  I am not ashamed to admit that with Mitch, and every previous child, I tear up a little every evening because it means my precious, sweet smelling, soft, innocent newborn is now a day older.  This will carry on for at least 2 weeks, then sporadically, perhaps for the rest of their lives.  Not that I am going to be the creepy mom from "Love You Forever", but sometimes I wish I could be...because as long as I'm living, my baby these boys will be.

I hold Mitch, and nurse him, and forget about everything else.  I let my other boys slightly destroy the house, piece by piece.  I don't even want to mention our current laundry situation.  Matt does the dishes every night because I can't possibly spare a moment to do them throughout the day.  I am only 2 pounds away from pre-baby weight because eating even takes a backseat to my newborn admiring, loving, kissing, obsessing time.  I'm annoyed he is not awake more so I can gaze into his beautiful eyes.  I am stressed I haven't photographed him enough, he changes every day, every hour, and I don't want to forget, or miss a moment. 
People continue to ask me if this is it for us.  If Mitch is our last baby.  I just cannot answer that question right now.  The thought that this might be the last time I ever experience the true joy, amazement and love of a brand new baby, is upsetting.  I go back to work too soon.  I have 3 other children to tend to, my time is all sucked up...these should all be reasons to not have another, but I don't see it that way.  Despite all of that, as we speak, I am holding my teeny baby, and I have never felt happier, more relaxed or less stressed.  I've said it before, newborns are like a therapeutic anti-anxiety medication to me.  I am in no rush to have another.  I will not be "trying for a girl".  But I am not taking anything off the table.  For now, I am enjoying my newest blessing.  I am looking forward to who he will become, but secretly hoping time will take a momentary hiatus, and stop moving for a bit.  And, until that happens, I will just hold my baby, rock him, love him, and cherish every newborn nuance, because babies don't keep.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Dentist.

I know, I know. You should take your kid to the dentist much prior to him turning 5, like years, not just a couple months.  In my defense, I have been talking about making Brock an appointment for the past 2 or so years...just never got around to actually doing it.  Well, Monday, while making calls to schedule newborn appointments, my postpartum appointment, a dentist appointment for me, it dawned on me, Matt's home!  What a perfect time to get the kiddos in to the dentist.  So, I sucked it up, and called to get appointment's for Brock, Curtis and George.
Now, I am not sure how clear I have made it that Brock has a tooth obsession.  When he was little, he would insist on brushing his teeth much more frequently than once or twice a day.  He had his own brush at Mimi's.  We can use losing tooth brushing privileges as a threat to help bedtime run more smoothly.  Long ago, when Brock asked why we brush our teeth, Matt and I told him that they would turn black and fall out otherwise (which is only a slight exaggeration.)  That did it.  He would never miss a nightly teeth cleaning again.  Therefore, I didn't worry about his tooth hygiene.  We don't eat excessive amount of sugar (at night) and nor do I give juice or soda with dinner (90% of the time), and, my family has generally good tooth genetics (yes, some people are more prone to cavities than others, despite habits) so I didn't worry about it.

While out on a walk, the night before the appointment, we ran into one of our favorite neighbors.  The little girl, who is Brock's age, mentioned a possible playdate for the following day, to which Brock replied, "I can't, I have a dentist appointment." What 4 year old keeps a schedule!?  Well, the next morning, we found George covered in vomit, so his appointment was cancelled, but the other two excitedly headed out for their first dentist experience.  They loved it.  Matt said they behaved perfectly.  Brock carried home his little goody bag with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a sticker and bouncy ball, and did not put that thing down for the rest of the day.  In fact, he is still storing all the stuff in that little plastic bag and puts it under his pillow to sleep at night!

As a reward for their fabulous behavior, Matt took them to the zoo.  While there, and riding the "Sky Safari" (aka ski lift), Brock smiled at a lady passing on the other side, and yelled "look how white my teeth are! I went to the dentist!"  Also, apparently he exclaimed, "My teeth are so clean the girls' heads are going to pop off" while getting his cleaning.  Curtis, though slightly less obsessive (ok, a lot less obsessive) than Brock, also talked about this adventure for days.  He mostly just liked the fish tank at the office and the bouncy ball he acquired.

For the record, they both got a clean bill of tooth health.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet Mitch.

I don't care what number pregnancy it is for you, until that child arrives, the speculations, worries, questions, visions, never cease.  In fact, I wonder if it worsens with each one.  For some reason, I felt anxious throughout this entire fourth pregnancy. Though symptomatically, it was identical to the previous three, there was something very different about 4.O.  We found out his sex ahead of time, in big part, because of this inexplicable anxiety.  I had expressed major concerns about the delivery early on, to my OB.  The projected large size of my offspring made me nervous, I kept telling her that my old, tired uterus wouldn't be able to handle it, and that the baby's head would never come down.  Three, flawless, healthy, relatively smooth, prior deliveries made me even more nervous!  You'd think this would offer reassurance, but I was certain that something had to give, something had to be different.  All along, what I didn't know, is that 'something' was Mitch.  He is different.

Luckily, all of these worries, the anxiety, were for nothing.  From the moment my water broke to the delivery, everything went great.  I would like to note that once most of the fluid had finally flushed out, my belly was half the size!  Even the nurse noticed a significant change.  It's no wonder I would contract with every movement.  The baby wasn't so much gigantic, just his living conditions.  The labor was a bit slow, lasting 8 hours, and the baby's head was in fact, not coming down as I had predicted.  Until it did.  Then, one contraction and he was free!

With all of my births, I remember seeing the baby for the first time.  I can remember all my initial thoughts.  With Mitch, I saw his quivering lip, and thought, Curtis!  I saw his little nose and thought, Brock!  I saw his cheeks and thought, George! Then I held him, cleaned him up, inspected, kissed, and hugged my new baby, and realized, he was none of them.  He was just Mitch.  I saw my husband next to me with tears of joy.  I sensed a room full of happy, relaxed nurses, doctors, and techs.  I knew that we had done it again.  We had created another healthy, happy, beautiful, perfect little baby boy.  For the remainder of the hospital stay, and even today, I continue to smile to myself.  I reflect regularly, and think, "I have never been happier."  Never.  I couldn't put into words why I felt this way, I thought maybe some of it was relief that all had gone so beautifully.  Or perhaps, because Mitch turned out to be so incredibly cute, and dark haired, and familiar to me.  But then, Matt sat across from me the morning after Mitch was born.  I look over, and he is holding the baby, kissing his forehead.  And Matt says to me, "This is the happiest I have ever been."  To which, I reply, "Real nice, what about your other 3 son's?" Matt doesn't even hesitate in his response, "They are part of  why.  I now have 4 perfect, healthy sons.  I have never been happier."  It's amazing how frequently my husband of little words can exactly capture a moment in one phrase.  Or one photograph.
Because of the late delivery, the big brothers did not get to meet Mitch until the following morning. This is one of my favorite parts of becoming a new mom.  These little boys reactions are always so adorable, somewhat predictable and fun.  Brock, being the veteran, came in smiling, took one look at the baby, perhaps said "Hi", then moved on to exploring the many, many buttons which fill the hospital room.  Happy boy Curtis, was all smiles.  He loved that baby from the moment he saw him.  He worked on saying his name.  George.  Haha.  Little George was absolutely bewildered.  He kept looking at me, very disturbed by my hospital bed and gown.  He did not know what to even think of the baby.  You could see the wheels spinning, but he could not quite put it all together.  This was somewhat upsetting to him.  I had to get up and change into normal clothes before he would have anything to do with me.  He has kissed and helped with the baby a lot since then.  He loves giving Mitch hats and pacifiers.
One last thing, I will always remember about his birth, is that this is the first time I birthed a child that I did not immediately think, "O'Laughlin!"  He has a full head of dark hair. Eyebrows! Fuzzy little arms and legs and ears.  I think he might look the most different from his brothers.  Perhaps even a bit like me?  Or, as some people have put it, "my breed".  Maybe he will enjoy the Summer and heat like me!  I did say that I was breeding an Olympian while I was pregnant with him, and judging by his HUGE hands, long arms, ability to hold up his head from birth, and activity in utero, I don't think I'm totally wrong.  Fingers crossed he not only got my dashing good looks (boy version) but my athleticism.
Mitch loves to cuddle.  Nurses like a champ.  Sleeps soundly and for long stretches. Has only just begun to open his eyes for brief periods.  Apparently, he thinks if he is awake, then he should be eating!  He was not quite back to birth weight at one week, but over halfway there.  He does enjoy a pacifier.  He can tune out nearly any noise.  He's not so sure about the swing, but we'll get there.  I cannot decide if he likes to be swaddled. His finger nails are really long, but oddly attached the the skin below. His skin is the softest I've ever felt.  His eyebrows give him quite the expressions. He has Matt's chin.  He smiles in his sleep.  He is perfect.
Everyone else seems to think he is perfect, as well. It makes me over-joyed to see how much everyone accepts and loves Mitch.  Not just his brothers, but all of my and Matt's family.  All of our friends.  I've said it before, and I will always say it, but bringing a child into such a supportive community makes this experience all the more overwhelmingly amazing.  And wonderful.  And relaxing.  And joyous.  I get to spend a couple days int he hospital, admiring my miracle. Absorbing the baby smells. Noises. Feel.  Serenity. All while knowing my other children are happy as clams.  Hanging with their aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

 MITCHELL FRANCIS O'LAUGHLIN
SEPTEMBER 26TH, 2013 at 9:46pm
9lbs 8ozs and 21.5in 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All the things...

There are a lot of things I want to say, like as a Facebook status, but don't, because I know everyone is tired of pregnancy and children posts...but it's my life. I am consumed by it.

Currently, 4.O never let's me forget his presence. Every time I stand from a sitting position, I questionably have to pee. Every time I stand from a lying position, I contract, and questionably have to pee. I am waddling, because it feels like my pubic bone is splitting in half. Walking has never been so difficult.  The contractions, the pain, the pressure, my back could go out any moment, my legs go numb, any number of things are preventing me from taking my little boys for nice evening stroll.  I get home, and sit down.  I force Matt to do EVERYTHING.  I am somewhat certain that I am currently disabled.

If I eat too much, or too late, or something a bit spicy, I sit up in the recliner to sleep.  Even that doesn't 100% guarantee that I won't wake up at 1am with acid reflux making me vomit.

On top of this, I am working full days.  I am masking my complete and utter misery, to appear put together, for my patients, peers and colleagues.  Why do I do this?  Because no one likes to be around a "Debbie Downer". My misery is not their misery.  I never did acquire the skill to mope. The only ones who seem to understand how I truly feel, who don't buy into my fake, friendly facade, are my immediate family members.  Guess when you live with someone for a long time, you can tell when they aren't them self anymore.

After my fourth round of nine months of pregnancy, I am not completely sure who my true "self" is anymore.  But I do know that I normally have A LOT more energy.  I like to be active, walk a lot, go to parks, take my kids places, keep my house picked up, drink coffee and eat spicy food, carry my own laundry baskets, cook dinner every so often, sleep on my back, join in my children's' games and rough housing, and more that I just can't get my brain to eek out.

At 37 weeks and 4 days, the little guy weighed in at 9lbs 9ozs on ultrasound.  So, it's really no joke that I walk around with a term size baby for at least a month longer than most people.  It's hard on a body.  Just hard.  And each pregnancy gets a weensy bit harder here at the end.  Thank goodness it is just that...the end.  What's one more week or so?  Though everyday seems to crawl by, 4.O will be here before we know it!  We should probably lock down a name or two.  Tomorrow, I might stop by Target to buy some Dreft so I can wash the newborn clothes.  I still don't know where I am going to store these clothes, but that's just details.  He really only needs blankets and diapers for the first month or so, right?

All along, I have been hoping for this baby to be 10 days early...so September 23rd it is.  What's another 4 days?

I can do this.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Father's Love.

 "I see how much I love him, and I imagine my dad loved me like that one day, and it makes me wish I'd been a better son"


I read this anonymous quote, and it struck a chord.  I have thought of this, often.  The day Brock was born, I thought of my own parents.  I thought, seriously?  They loved something THIS MUCH!?  Not only something...but ME!?  It does not seem possible.  I am so flawed.  I can think of so many things I did which hurt or disappointed my parents through the years.  I think of how little I appreciated them.  But then I think of how none of that matters to me, as a mom now, myself.  I see it in Matt.  These baby boys could do no harm in my eyes.  I am proud of their every milestone.  I could kiss their cheeks until they are raw.  Like my own mother, I will make a birthday dinner for them every year that I am able, or they are available.  For their birth, is truly a day I celebrate.  And, it's not only me, I see this same awe, love, and reverence in their father.  He is just as smitten as I, and these boys will forever be his sons. No matter what they do, or who they become, they are loved by us.

To this day, I am still amazed by the human capacity for love.  I'm not sure I will ever get over how much one little person can take over your heart in an instant.  And that it can be repeated (soon to be) four times, without dampening the effects even slightly.  Though I hope for success, love, happiness, kindness, and virtue from all of my sons, I will never fault them for their mistakes.  Perhaps, one day, they will have a son and reflect in the same manner, but I want them to know...they could never be better.  In our eyes, they are already THE BEST.

Little Things

      As I was driving, with all 3 boys in the van, I hear a loud, long, adult-like fart.  And Curtis, just begins to belly laugh.  Infectiously.  To the point where all 3 boys are laughing. Straight from their gut!  I just had to laugh too.  When we all finally settle down, Curtis continues to have a smirk on his face.  He finally says, "I tooting, Mama".  Oh really?

      Matt has been encouraging Brock to go downstairs and turn on cartoons, or play on the iPad in the morning for weeks.  As independent as that child likes to think he is, there are some habits which are hard to break.  Like convincing him that it is OK to sit alone and eat breakfast or watch TV.  Matt would give him pep talks at night.  Telling Brock he is a big boy, that he knows how to turn on the television himself, that he does not need to be supervised at every moment, that his parents do not need to be awake with him.
       After 4 weeks of having to wake up in the 5 o'clock hour, I finally had a 'normal' morning - which means I did not have to be awake until about 7:15am.  Amazingly, Matt's hard work kicked in that day.  But, just before heading downstairs, on his own, for the first time, Brock had to clarify a few things with his father.  He goes up to him and says, "So, I can do anything I want?"  And Matt, says, "Well, sure, within reason. What are some things you shouldn't do?"  And Brock replies, "Wake up mom, and break picture frames."  Hmmm...the wake up mom bit makes total sense.  Not breaking picture frames???  I mean, probably shouldn't go around doing that, makes me wonder how often he thinks about bustin' up a picture frame.

     Perhaps related to the above post, one morning, Brock came sprinting upstairs, breathless, to tell me about a show he had been watching downstairs while I slept. He exclaims "Mom!  They showed a real lady having a baby on TV and it was sooooooo cute!!"  He then dashed back off, and back downstairs.  I wondered how graphic this show with a "real lady having a baby" was.  What exactly did they show?  Well, piece by piece, I have learned that this program was pretty thorough.  As the other day, when discussing the impending birth of his baby brother, Brock informed me that I would have to go to "the pushing hospital". 

Friday, August 30, 2013

It's all in the angle...

...or the outfit. 

Day to day, I get such a range of comments.  When in scrubs, I generally get told, "I can't even tell you're pregnant!  You look great for 35 weeks."  Conversely, in an outfit like the purple shirt above, I am frequently asked "Are you sure there aren't twins in there?" or "You're ready to pop!" or just speechlessness when my answer to "When are you due?" is: "in 5 weeks"!  Also, just looking at the side by side, you can see that the angle makes a HUGE difference as to whether I am carrying "high" or "low" or whether the baby has "dropped".  One day, I thought it might be fun to update my Facebook status with every single comment I got through the day regarding my pregnancy.  I still might. 

Recently, I have had a few friends, patients, experiences that have made me think twice about complaining about my current "condition".  There are so many things in life that can go "wrong".  Good people can get diagnosed with horrible diseases, healthy couples can struggle to conceive, jobs get lost, any number of extremely stressful, saddening things can happen to anyone at anytime.  I am not currently in that kind of situation.  My "condition" is a truly happy one.  I am lucky to be where I am; 35 weeks pregnant, with a strong, healthy, huge baby boy.  It's hard, sometimes, to look past the immediate, the now.  My RLS continues to worsen, and consume my evenings.  Depending on what I drink, some days, I literally stop in the bathroom to pee between every patient! If I don't drink enough, I contract all day - which also makes me feel like I have to pee.  Lose-lose situation there. The indigestion...well, everyone is sick of hearing about that, but it sucks.  I waddled a bit the other day because I must have slept wrong, making my hips and lower back nearly non-functional all day.  The baby is so large, and strong, it hurts now when he kicks.  I have to hold my stomach all day to keep his legs in check.  I could go on, and on, but these are all wonderful problems to have.  Wonderful, and extremely temporary problems.  I only have 5 (likely 4) weeks to go in this pregnancy.  It has sped along, and soon, I will meet Baby boy O, number four.

Last night, I insisted we go to the pool, mostly to relieve some pressure from my hips and back.  It did the trick.  I feel like a new woman today.  But it also made me look at, smile with, and enjoy my little family.  It reminded me how lucky I truly am.  How ridiculous it is that I constantly complain about my relatively minor aches and pains.  Watching Curtis play by himself, sitting on the little bubbling fountains, giggling, without a care in the world, melts my heart.  Observing Brock in his floaties, trying to swim after and play with a group of big boys, just makes me laugh...who does he think he is?  Sweet, baby George, alternating between climbing on and cuddling with Matt and I fills my heart.  Watching him sprint up the ramp after getting dressed, saying "nigh nigh", because we pushed him far past his 7:30 bedtime, is sad, yet, cute all at the same time.  If a warm, August night, with the beautiful cloudless sky, in a huge, clean, pool, surrounded by the 4 (5) loves of your life isn't enough to make you love life and appreciate everything in it, than you need to get your head checked.  Because, it's perfect.