Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Mother's Love

Marino and I are on vacation right now - one that we had planned for a couple of months with my friend Jen and her daughter Sydney. Unfortunately, this means we are not in Maryland today to be there for my friend Kristal for one of the most difficult days of her life. Today, Kristal and her husband have to say goodbye to their son Christian. You may recall me mentioning that Kristal had a very difficult pregnancy and endured great discomfort and exhaustion in the hospital for weeks to make it to 25 weeks in her pregnancy, at which point she had to deliver Christian on May 29th.

Christian was quite the fighter from the beginning of his life. I had the privilege of meeting him the day after he was born and it was pretty amazing. Kristal and I really bonded even more in our friendship in only the way mothers of premature babies can. Although Christian's journey was sure to be tougher than Marino's was, most mothers have never been through extended hospital stays with a child like NICU moms. We talked often about the highs and the lows as Christian grew.

Unfortunately, at the end of the week before last, Christian took a turn for the worse. An infection, coupled with a surgery attempt, proved to be too much for him. Kristal and Kris held their boy as he became an angel at just 11 weeks old.

Today, is Christian's funeral and I wish that I could be there for Kristal. I know how much she loved her boy and how badly she wanted just to be here. I remember talks we had in the hospital about the worst case scenario and this was it - losing him. Kristal just wanted her boy with her. I shared this poem with her last weekend, and I wanted to share it here as well, in memory of Christian and a mother's love:

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
-ee cummings

Kristal, Kris and Gabby, we are thinking of you today and praying for strength and peace for you. Good night, sweet Christian.

Friday, August 20, 2010

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. On Saturday, my dad, stepmother, Evan and I were all in the living room with Marino (which Marino calls "the big room"). Marino was doing a snake impression and going around to everyone saying "now you do it". Then he decided he wanted us all to do it together - a symphony of snakes - and announced "Everybody do it! SSSSSSSSSSS"

4. On Sunday, while my Dad and Barb were over, Marino was jumping off the couch. I asked him about 765 times to stop jumping off the couch. He stopped leaping and started modifying it to more of a fall off the couch and told me "I stepping"...apparently "stepping" off the couch is not the same as "jumping" off the couch.

3. August is dinosaur month at daycare (Marino loves dinosaurs) and yesterday when we arrived, they were dinosaur tracks on the floor. The Director, Sharon (ShiShi) asked Marino if he wanted to go find the dinosaur (aka actually let Mommy get out the door without a meltdown) and he put his hand up to his mouth and said "ooooh scary!!"

2. For the first time ever, Marino asked me on Thursday, "What do you call this?" (he has obviously asked me that before but not in such a direct way). And of course, I didn't know the answer! The object he had in his hand was one of those spiky balls but it was flat on one side. So here I was saying "um..." and he was trying to help me "Ball? Circle" Finally, I said "It's half a ball". How is the boy stumping me with questions already?!

1. He has learned his bedtime prayers well enough that he can say a modified version of them on his own now. The other night after he did the full version, he did a second version on his own (stall bedtime tactic). He ended he prayer with"bless Mommy, bless Daddy, bless tv."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visiting with Friends and Family

On Saturday, we got a chance to visit with our friends, Jess and Olando, who we hadn't seen in 2 years. Now, these friends only live an hour away, but we both have 2 year olds and some how having 2 year olds and visiting hadn't ended up happening until now. They also have a 3 month old baby, Emelia.
How cute is she?!
Marino got a hold of Jess' phone and decided to "take a picture"
Olivia was really enjoying Marino's drum set. She and baby sis Emelia look just alike!

Gorgeous girls!
My friend Gina also came by with her kids and then my dad and stepmother came down from New York to visit us (or Marino anyway). Busy day but we had a great time!
Sunday, my dad and Barb came over again and my cousin Miranda also came over with her daughter, Pacey. Marino and Pacey had a great time playing and dancing.

Marino and Pacey are normally no good for picture taking, but for some reason, out of no where, this day the decided to ham it up for the camera, so I took advantage and took a bunch of pictures of them being silly! It just so happened them were both wearing Zingo Tots initial tees, too!

Marino with his Pap Pap and Grammy Barb

Friday, August 13, 2010

5 on Friday

As always, here are 5 special reasons I am loving my boy this week:

5. Evan has been fishing a lot this summer and Marino is very interested in this. Every time Evan comes home with his fishing pole, Marino will say "Daddy, you catch a fishy?"
4. Evan has been teaching Marino to say prayers at bedtime. It's honestly the most adorable thing to hear him say "I pway the Lwod my soul to take."

3. Marino has been calling himself "Mino" forever, but he's now very interested in names and if you ask him what his name is, he will say "Ma...wino." He also calls me "Sawa" if I don't respond to "Mommy" quickly enough.

2. Marino loves to climb (and jump), which, naturally, results in a lot of falls and bumps. His new thing is, before you even get a chance to ask, he'll shout "Mino's okay!" anytime he falls.

1. At dinner with our preemie friends last Friday, Marino asked the waiter "Hey Man, got ries (fries)?" He calls all men he doesn't know "man." He was not happy to hear the answer was no!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Preemie Get Together - Day 2

Saturday morning, Marino and I headed out to the National Zoo to meet up with our preemie friends again. Everyone who was at dinner the night before was at the zoo, and Megan, Seth and Simon joined us as well. I have to say, we saw less animals on this trip to the zoo than ever before! The toddlers just wanted to play on the playground equipment and Marino was only interested in seeing pigs (he is still obsessed with the movie Babe).
Here's a group shot of all the mamas and little ones:
L to R
Jen and Annabelle, Laura with Cameron and Evan, Karen and Brandon, Megan and Simon, Martha and Campbell, Marino and I.
Some "flat" friends joined us, as well: Ivory and Emma, Trish and Robbie, Corey, Kiera and Claire
Brandon petting a cow
Playtime in the "pizza garden"

Cute superhero shirt Cameron and Evan got Marino for his birthday (it also has a snap on cape!)
Prairie dog tunnels...the kids loved playing in these!
Marino and Campbell
Brandon smiling, as usual
Later that night, most of us moms went out for toddler-free time (our flat friends had some drinks, too). It was really great to catch up with everyone - thanks to our friends who came from out of town!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Preemie Get Together - Day 1

Preemie Power!! This weekend we got together with a group of our parents of preemies friends and (former) preemie toddlers. We had a great time and although most of us are through the toughest of times, we have a unique shared history and I really love these girls (and their kids).

Friday afternoon, we headed up to Baltimore to Port Discovery. Traffic was awful so we didn't get there until very late, but we had fun with the time we had. It was all boys at Port Discovery: Karen and Stu's son, Brandon, Drew and Laura's sons: Cameron and Evan, and Marino, of course.

Here's Marino, clearly enjoying himself...
If you looked inside of this box, there were mice inside, partying.
Brandon, enjoying a slide
Marino, enjoying the slide in a unique manner:)
There was a Bob the Builder exhibit at Port Discovery and all the boys were obsessed with this box that had buttons that lit up and "talked"...someone remarked if we all had one at home, we'd all have clean homes! Here's Cameron and Evan checking it out.

I love Brandon's smile!
All the boys in one spot!
Brandon can't believe this mess!
Cooking in the diner...

Daddy and Marino sharing a moment

Leave it to toddlers to go to a children's museum and spend half the time playing with legos;)_

On our way out, a band was setting up, so Marino was listening to the drummer practice.
After Port Discovery, we walked over to the harbor and had dinner at PF Chang's (which I love because they have a gluten-free menu, but FYI, not many egg-free options there).
Our friend's the Compton's: Martha, Robbie, Campbell and new addition Maggie came from South Carolina and met us for dinner, as did new friends Jen, Tim and their daughter Annabelle.

Here's Annabelle - how cute is she?!
Annabelle and Campbell
Campbell posing for me
Baby Maggie (born full term). Marino was not happy about me holding her...he was at the end of the table crying.
Happy Brandon