17 May 2016

Soccer Girls

Kennedy and Mara both played soccer this spring. It was Kennedy's second season playing and Mara's first. Each of them had two practices a week and a Saturday morning game so for the past couple months, we have had soccer practices four evenings a week (yikes!) and a full morning of soccer games on the weekend. I am definitely ready for a little break!

 Kennedy played with the same group of girls she played with last Fall and had such a great season. The progress she has made in two seasons is unbelievable. She's a hard little worker and she puts in so much effort. She's aggressive and gets in there and made a very exciting four goals at one of the games (of course, the one I missed). It's been a lot of fun to watch! We also really enjoyed the other parents on her team and felt fortunate that her first soccer experience was such a positive one. We are looking forward to another season in the Fall!

Miss Mara was also on a great team and was thrilled when we found out one of her friends from preschool (Bailey) would also be on her team! We're not exactly sure what Mara's future with soccer will be (given that she asks the coach for breaks about every 5 minutes during games) but I am happy that, after we literally shoved her onto the field, she gave it a try! Her resistance was a nice parenting exercise for Sean and I.... it was also a nice exercise in patience (or flaring tempers, however you want to view it!! :). We both agreed she had to finish the season and at least get out on the field and try and I am hoping we got that lesson across to her. This is just one of the many great life lessons that team sports teach kids and it is why I am hoping the girls will each find a sport they enjoy playing.

Despite Mara's lack of interest in the game, she sure looked the part!!
Atta girl.

11 May 2016

Mothers Day

Two years ago, on Mother's Day, my mom gave me a yellow begonia. I planted it in a pot on our patio table so I could see it right through the kitchen sliding door. I love flowers and I always create all of my outdoor pots Mother's Day weekend so the begonia was a perfect gift. That morning, Mother's Day morning, I met my mom for Mass and afterward we got coffee and pedicures. It was a great day. It was beautiful and sunny and I was 18 weeks pregnant with our third baby. Everything felt right. I was starting to show and I loved that my bump could finally be seen in my flowing, springy skirt. I was also starting to feel the baby move which was always my favorite part of pregnancy. I remember sitting in Mass that morning with my mom and I had such a feeling of happiness and contentment. I truly felt so blessed.  I was also feeling so excited for my big ultrasound which was scheduled for only two days later - May 13, 2014 - a date that would, unbeknownst to me, become forever embedded in my memory. I was beyond excited to find out if we would be having a third wonderful girl or if a sweet baby boy would be joining our family. I had a strong feeling it was another girl and I would soon learn I was right.

 Little did I know on that Mother's Day of 2014 that our baby girl, our sweet Lexie, would not be joining our family - at least not in the way we had hoped and so desperately wanted. Little did we know how very sick she was and little did we know that the following days, weeks and months would be a roller coaster of heartbreak and grief. So much would change in the following few days. So much would be lost.

By the end of that May, our little one was gone and we were left to live with the broken pieces of a life - hers and ours- that was not meant to be. I spent the days of that summer in a fog trying to wade through the sadness that bogged me down. I would spend long moments just staring out the window - most often at that yellow begonia on the patio table. As the summer wore on, it got bigger and bigger and eventually just took over the entire pot. People consistently commented on how beautiful it was. I thought so too and it was a visual reminder that no matter how sad and awful I felt - I had to keep going, I had to keep growing.

As summer turned to fall, my grief began to fade into sad acceptance. And without my permission and almost without my realization, hope began to creep in. Hope for happy days again, hope for another baby. And all the while, I stared at that beautiful yellow begonia.

Many days have come and gone since then and two Mother's Days have passed. It has become a tradition that I plant a yellow begonia in that same pot on our patio table. It is a reminder of our baby girl and of that time in my life. I still spend long moments staring at it... lost in thoughts of my sweet Lexie.
I found myself reflective this Mother's day - actually, I remember feeling that way last year too. Maybe it's the new me. That Mother's Day of 2014 was my last "carefree" one I think. While I knew that Motherhood can come with heartbreak, I hadn't truly experienced it yet. I didn't truly understand how cruel it could actually be. I now look at all the moms I know - and especially my own - with an even deeper respect. I know so many different moms... so many different women walk this journey with me and I found myself thinking about all of them on Mother's Day.

I thought about the moms who mother without their own moms and the moms who just want to be moms. I thought about the moms who have lost babies (myself) and those who have lost children and who must continue on with a part of their hearts in heaven. I thought about the moms (my fellow ladies) who are knee-deep in young kids, soccer practices, bedtime stories and baby food. I also thought about the moms of older kids who are navigating their way through the teenage years and learning to let go of their kids. And I thought about the grandmas who love on their grandkids and I wondered what it is like to watch the children you parented... parent. I thought about the moms who have full time careers, part-time careers and who work full-time at home. We're all juggling, all balancing, all doing the best we can to keep all those little balls in the air. The common denominator between all of us is that we love our kids and we just want them to turn out well and to know they are loved.

Mother's Day was pretty quiet and really nice this year. I am recovering from surgery so I couldn't do a lot. I went to Mara's preschool Mother's Day breakfast the Friday before which was so fun. I always love spending one on one time with each of my kids and I need to make it more of a priority to do so more often. She loved having me all to herself and I think she loved knowing I was there just for her.

When the kids are all grown up, I know this will be one of the things I miss most. I love their homemade gifts. They really are the best.

And since this was my very first Mother's Day with Aiden, I made Sean take a few pics of us. Of course they turned out mostly horrible but I saved these two because they makes me laugh. I had to bribe the kids (which clearly only worked on Kennedy) and Aiden was far more interested in the grass than getting his photo taken.

Happy Mother's Day.

07 May 2016

Mara and Friends

Mara has gotten to play with some of her favorite friends lately!
Jami came over one afternoon this week to help me as I recover from my surgery.
It was great to get to spend some extra time with her and the kids and I feel so thankful to have such a great friend!!

Mara and Ryan have been good buddies since, literally, they were BORN! Their birthdays are only two weeks apart (they were supposed to be born a month apart but Ryan decided to torture Jami and stay in utero an extra two weeks... it's funny now but at the time... Jami DID NOT think it was funny, ha!).

Mackay is one of my favorite kids - he is so sweet and cute!!

Heidi and Brian were over a few weeks ago and Mara had so much fun playing with Livi.
These two are nothin' but CUTE in their hats! :)
 And last but not least, Miss Kenzie spent a day with us in April and I took the girls to the Bouncy Place - they had so much fun together!!
 Love this kid!