Friday, August 30, 2013

a day at the gardens

Busch Gardens, that is. It may be our last trip there before we move and it was a grand day indeed.

She had "the best day ever". She kept saying it over and over. She fell asleep almost instantly when we put her in the stroller to leave the park.

I love this picture! Peter's first ride.

This is apparently Jack's new face for the camera. I'll spare you all the others that look just like it, except the background.

She was so excited that she could ride this one.

Tony and I took turns riding the rides. Somehow I managed to escape miss out on this one.

Good-bye Busch Gardens.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Beach, Goodbyes, and a few pictures

The rain was so heavy, it seemed like a solid sheet of water hitting our car, the roof sounding like a tin one on an old cottage. And that is how our whirlwind of a week at the beach began, driving to South Carolina in two cars in the pouring rain.

We arrived just before midnight at the house on the ocean's shore. The kids' cousins had been asleep for hours, but the adults had stayed up. It seemed only minutes after I had fallen asleep that Peter's fussing roused me and I looked at the time. 5:30 am. I groggily made my way down the unfamiliar stairs and found the door to the porch. With the sun slowly bringing morning's light over the water, he and I cuddled and savored the quiet, for there were 17 other souls in that house. Quiet is not one of the words I would use to describe our week.

It was Sunday, but Mass would not be until 11:45, so we ventured onto the beach and took the first of many walks. The sand on Edisto was coarser than Folly Beach, and the beach had lots of flotsam washed ashore from previous night's storm.

We arrived at the tiny little Church just in time. There was a hand-written sign stating that they had no cry room, but you could use the office if needed. I needed. I could still hear everything, which led me to believe that they could still hear me too. The priest was Indian and he had a visiting priest who also was from India. The visiting priest gave the homily. He was talking about the times that he got to work with Mother Teresa! I had goosebumps just thinking about it. In this little metal building, on a small little island, I was hearing a firsthand account of Mother Teresa. What a treasure!

Pelican Beach is what Anna renamed the island on Monday. All day long, pelicans would fly overhead in long straight lines. Sometimes 15 or 20. One time we counted 92. We would later find out that they were flying from their nesting ground to their feeding ground. Seems to me, you might want to live closer to your food source, but then again, I am not a pelican. I loved watching these birds. They would sometimes "adjust" themselves in mid-flight, shaking their bodies and kicking their legs, yet not get out of formation. Peter was just as fascinated by these elegant birds. "Dis! Dis!" he would cry and point to the sky.

The house had a pool. When I heard this, I was worried because my kids are not swimmers. I know, I know, I really need to get them lessons. I needn't have worried. The 'pool' was so small that if I stretched my arms over my head, I could reach the other side. Lengthwise wasn't much better. It was perfect for my kids to gain confidence in the water. They loved it.

Tuesday we drove to Georgia to visit Ben's grave one last time before he head to Germany. We brought him new flowers and cried.

We also visited with the dearest of friends. I got to meet the special little girl for whom I knit the pink blanket. She is truly the beautiful result of years of prayers. We also had dinner with Jack's godparents, who just happen to be pretty special people.

By Wednesday, I was so tired that when the rest of the family went on an ecotour, I stayed home with Peter and got a glorious three hour nap on the porch, the ocean breeze singing me to sleep.

Then the clock decided to go crazy and spin out of control. I knew it was coming, and all of a sudden, Tony and Olivia were packing the red van and giving hugs and then she was gone. On her way to college. Oh, I am not ready to let her go and test her wings. I did this already with Sophie and it is hard. Very hard. I felt I had to impart all the wisdom I could in those last days. I am sure I drove her nuts.

The next day, we all had to say good-bye. We had a final farewell lunch in Charleston at Blossom. I highly recommend it if you have never been there. We took a quick stroll through the Market and then started the long trek home. And then Sophie had to go and leave for college the very next day. It is so strange around here, just me and the little ones. I feel out of sorts. I miss my big girls.

And that, my friends, is my story for today.

Anna took this one. I had been trying all week to take a picture of the pelicans. She succeeded.

I cannot believe I forgot to mention one of the happiest moments of the trip! (Actually, that is reason for the name of this blog). My sister Holly knocked on the door of the beach house early Thursday morning, surprising us all. She lives in San Diego and had told us she could not make the trip. The tears and laughter intermingled as we hugged her so tight, rejoicing that we were all together for at least a little while.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Year in Pictures

I did it. I blinked. Shame on me because look what happened...

brand new!

one month

two months

3 months

four months

five months

six months

seven months

eight months

nine months

ten months

eleven months

one year!

Yesterday, we celebrated one whole year with Peter in our family. I made a chocolate zucchini cake which may or may not have been less fluffy than the one my mom made. (I did not sift the flour like she does). I bought him two toys. A wooden cube toy and a wooden racetrack type thing. He still prefers climbing onto the table. We tried to get him to blow out the candle. He is all boy, for he grabbed the candle before we could stop him and snuffed it out with his bare hands. Thank goodness he was not burned.

Happy Birthday Peter!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

In Memory

Today marks six years of life without our son Benjamin. I am thinking a quiet day with family is best. I am hoping that the skies will be clear tonight so that we can watch the Perseid meteor showers, which has become a yearly tradition.

I am linking to a post I wrote two years ago, because as I re-read it this morning, I could think of no better way to honor my boy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Nature Up Close

Last night found us outdoors at one of Tony's summer concerts. Armed with all-natural bug spray, some water bottles, and folding chairs, we were ready to enjoy some music. The kids have made friends with two little girls whose dad is also in the band. They squealed with delight when they found one another and skipped off happily to play in the open area designated for just that.

Backing up a little, let me state that yesterday had most decidedly not been a good day for Therese. When naptime was announced, she threw herself down on the couch with a wail that quickly turned into a full-fledged cry. She did not execute her exasperated flop well and ended up hitting her eye on the armrest, resulting in a rug-burn type scrape right in the corner of her eye. She was also awakened early by her mother, who foolishly thought that vacuuming the downstairs would be a good idea. Then to her dismay, dinner was not her favorite. So by the time she tripped and fell in the parking lot, skinning her knee, she was a very crabby two year old indeed.

So, if you know anything about crabby toddlers, you will know that I did not get to talk to my friend much. Nope, I was walking back and forth from the play area to our seats trying to assuage said toddler. On my last trek back to the play area, I looked down at my feet just in time to see something slither away. It was a small snake. Well, now, I am not going to lie to you, I do not like snakes. Not at all. They freak me out big time. And here was how desperate I was to cheer up Miss Fussy Pants: I pointed out the snake to her. She stopped crying and followed it. Then I called Jack and Anna over to see it. But Anna did something I was not expecting at all. SHE PICKED IT UP!!!! Oh my word! I remained calm on the outside, but my inner monologue was screaming "Put that thing doooowwwwwwnnnnn!" Then I realized that that little snake probably had friends that might be bigger and more aggressive, so I gently suggested we go see if we could find Daddy, right now. Oh, and then I remembered that I had not 10 minutes earlier sat Peter down to play in that very spot. Cue the panic attack.

I will admit that I will be watching my kids much closer at next week's concert. I will also be praying for rain.

Friday, August 2, 2013

where I expound on diaper troubles

Looking back, I realize this has been a problem for many months now. I need to figure out what is going on.

I really like cloth diapering my babies. I like that I am not spending lots of money on disposables. Not to mention the throwing away of all those diapers. I have been doing this since Anna was a baby and I have never had the troubles I am now experiencing. Poor Peter. His little tush is a mess. I might get it looking better for a few days, but never for long and never completely clear.

There are so many possible culprits that I can't seem to narrow it down to the right one. I thought maybe my washing machine might not be doing so great anymore at getting them clean, although they look and smell clean. So I tried boiling some to see if I could kill anything left after washing them. That didn't help. We have switched to disposables in order to try an anti-fungal lotion, an antibiotic lotion, commercial diaper rash lotions, petroleum jelly, you name it, I have probably tried it! Still, this rash persists, even in disposables, which makes me think it is not the diapers at all.

I also had the theory that it could be allergy related. But why only the diaper area? If it was a food allergy, wouldn't I be seeing a reaction in other places too?

Today, I  bought some brand new diapers that are currently being prepped for wearing and a new cover. I will keep these separate from the other diapers and see if that makes any improvement. I also bought a sample size all-natural diaper cream. I read the ingredients and realized I own all of them excepting the shea butter. I did some research on the internet and I found some great recipes for my own homemade lotion that I could make right now. And I did. It is currently cooling on the kitchen counter.

I realize this is really boring reading for most anyone but me. But just maybe, someone might have the answer. So I write and hope.