Wednesday, December 15, 2010
To children abandoned, lives unlived, a farewell tribute with dignity
by Globe columnist Brian McGrory.
Christmas carols were playing over the sound system at the nearby skating rink on Boston Common yesterday morning and Macy’s was decked out in fresh wreaths, as Father David Convertino walked into a tiny upstairs chapel at St. Anthony Shrine in the midst of Downtown Crossing to preside over an event that would challenge even a friar’s faith.
Dim light filtered through a wall of stained glass and flattened along the dark hardwood floors of the room where 16 people, some of them in brown robes and sandals, waited for the proceedings to begin. A clear vase held an elegant bouquet of white flowers; the altar was made of simple wood; a woman sang hymns in an angelic voice.
And at the center sat two tiny caskets covered with one white cloth, each topped with a spray of fresh flowers and a small stuffed bear that had never been touched by a child’s hand.
Their names were Andrew and Nicholas. There were no headlines when they died, no press releases, no investigations — really no public awareness at all. They were each stillborn in Boston hospitals, one in October, the other in November, then abandoned by families who either wouldn’t or couldn’t send them from this world in a dignified way.
Which is why they were here, because the Franciscan friars of St. Anthony Shrine see it as a key part of their mission to provide dignity in death — dignity to abandoned infants, dignity to loners whose bodies go unclaimed, dignity to homeless people with no one to celebrate their lives and see them to their graves.
But two infant deaths seemed to be taking an unusual toll yesterday on Convertino and the brothers who gathered to pray in a season that is supposed to be dedicated to hope and joy.
“It’s painful, it’s not understandable, and it leaves a huge question in our hearts,’’ Convertino said from the podium. “Why?’’
He had no answer, except to say that he didn’t believe these deaths were God’s will or way. “We are faced here, brothers and sisters, with a mystery of life and death, but there are no easy answers in life and death,’’ he said.
It was, as he noted, a gaping contradiction — two deaths of infants marked during Advent, a time of life. They were eulogized in a chapel set amid the commercial cacophony of downtown.
Inside, as the brief service came to a close, people quietly wept. Incense filled the small room, and after the last song was sung (“On Eagle’s Wings’’), the congregants slowly, silently, drifted from the chapel, one woman lingering with her hand on each casket. Stuffed animals had never looked so heartbreaking.
Afterward, Convertino sipped coffee around a long table in the nearby dining hall and openly acknowledged that these kinds of funerals can, in his words, “rock your faith.’’
He is a large man, a gentle man, a relentlessly straightforward man. “This is trying to grapple with the emptiness of a baby’s death and the responsibility of presiding over a celebration of faith,’’ he said.
Added Brother Gary Maciag, lifting up a volume in front of him, “Do I buy all the stuff in these prayer books? Some days, it’s very difficult.’’
As they talked, though, a striking humanity began to emerge, by no means an explanation for these deaths, but an indication of the goodness that followed them. The friars bury, by their account, about six abandoned infants a year, and another dozen or more homeless men and women, part of a mission they may have to pare back unless their Franciscan Campaign picks up in the last couple of weeks of 2010.
As the brothers spoke, their memories crystallized into stories. There was the funeral for the homeless man and the abandoned infant not long ago. They were buried in a donated grave, side by side, with homeless friends weeping over a baby they had never met.
There was the mother who decided she wanted to attend the funeral of the infant that she abandoned, but arrived too late. Convertino hunted around for a program until he found one on the floor. He gave the mother the flowers that rested beside the altar, and even those small gestures seemed to be enough.
None of the priests sits in judgment of the parents who fail to see their children to the grave. “I can’t,’’ said Convertino. “There’s always the story behind the story.’’
As part of the mission, volunteers sew tiny white burial garments. Others donate the simple flowers for each service, and the graves. An extraordinary young funeral director, Jed Dolan, provides services from his two family funeral homes in Dorchester and Milton, collecting just a small stipend from the state. He personally attends every service and stands by each grave.
“It brings everything home,’’ he said.
It also brings back Convertino’s overriding point. There may not be answers, but there is a response. “There is no reason not to be buried with all the dignity a community can give them,’’ he said.
In the face of anguish, there is goodness, a reason for the friars and so many others to hold tight to their faith.
-Brian McGrory, Globe columnist
When Sarah and I went to the local funeral home to discuss services for our daughter Abigail, the director’s response was something like “We will not take money when a baby dies”. And they didn’t.
God bless the friars - I personally know countless individuals, including immediate family members, who have been comforted in some way at St. Anthony Shrine.
June 4, 2006
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I'm okay with being an inconsistent and/or mediocre blogger - that's the beauty of blogging, right? Sure, it would be great to have 1,000 hits a day on my blog. But, until I have the time needed, periodic posts will suffice.
So, back to Disney. I think the girls' meeting with Aladdin and Jasmine was one of the more memorable meet and greets of our trip for several reasons. Check out the video clip:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
No, there are no sensational stories to tell about this year's Thanksgiving. Just a simple day to think about all that we have and remember those who are not with us.
I did, however, capture some fairly cute commentary the other night of Allie and Emily as they compared Thanksgiving hats they made in school:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I hope to have time to share more about our 10 day trip, but time does not allow me to spend much time today. I will, however leave you with a video clip of one of MANY precious moments we experienced while at Disney - Mickey was one of the first characters Allie, Anna and Emily met!
Monday, November 8, 2010
NECN (the news station we were watching) showed the Chilean miner crossing the finish line, but the newscast didn’t say who won neither the men’s nor women’s divisions! Hello?! They did, however, report that Shalane Flanagan of The United States had placed second for the women and became the first US woman to do so since Kim Jones in 1990! Even though NECN did report on Ms. Flanagan’s feat, I am betting that “celebrity” runners like Bobby Flay (4:01), Ryan Sutter from The Bachelor (3:21), and Al Roker (7 hours +!!!) will get as much press from completing the marathon as Flanagan will get from the awesome run she had in her first marathon.
So I just want to say congratulations to Marblehead, Massachusetts native Shalane Flanagan for finishing second in her marathon debut!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
…through the streets of Rome, Italy
…by the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, The Capitol, and all the great, historic spots in Washington D.C.
…along the scenic coastline of the Massachusetts’s North Shore
…through the hallowed streets of Salem
…by Cinderella’s castle at WDW, Orlando
…up the hills of the Georgetown section of Washington
…across the finish line of The Boston Marathon
…alongside the canals of Venice, Italy
…while honeymooning on the beautiful islands of Maui and Hawaii
…past the scenic Nobska Point Lighthouse in Woods Hole
I guess it doesn’t matter whether I get a run in while we are away, as long as I have my running shoes with me. You never know when an opportunity for a run like this will happen again!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Friday and Saturday were build up days until Sunday when all their pent-up excitement came out. There was a Halloween parade during the day which we participated in - it was fun. Outside of having to listen to kids blow whistles at the conclusion of the parade (the town gave whistles as part of a goody bag to all the kids), Sarah & I survived the chaos.
The end of the our Halloween day was the best, though. The girls' excitement about trick or treating far exceeded my expectations. They had a blast going house to house and Emily literally tripped and fell because she was so anxious to get to the next house!. And then when we got home they LOVED going to the door to see the kids in costume. This was one day you gotta love if you have kids!
Here's a few clips from our day:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Here’s a clip of Emily and Anna having a "piesta":
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Somewhere there is a field
of lovely Foreget Me Nots,
Delicate blooms for lives lost too soon,
Forget Me Not.
Forget not our angel...
June 4, 2006
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I had decided that no matter how tired I was on Monday, I was going to take full advantage of the spectacular Fall day with my girls. And we did take full advantage - we left the house before 10:00 a.m. and didn’t arrive home until about 3:30. Our packed day included our favorite park (with animals and playground), Papa Gino’s for lunch, another playground, a visit to see their sister Abigail and ice cream at Friendly’s!
The day was definitely challenging at times, but having girls who are well behaved is an enormous plus when you are out in public.
I took a bunch of video and compiled a brief highlight reel:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Ahhh...summertime - nothing like it and this past summer was a doozy. Our summer of fun included Storyland, the zoo, pool swimming, the beach and ice cream, of course! I pulled together some clips of our summer of fun with Allie, Anna and Emily:
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Times have changed - there were a bunch of people openly snapping pics and recording video during the show. It just so happens that I had my FLIP with me and grabbed some great video. The pictures below are snapshots from the video clips I took - not great quality BUT they do give a sense of how close we were to the stage. Thanks for an awesome show, guys!
I had seen the Goos previously a few years ago, but this show got me hooked! Hopefully they will come back to the area in 2011!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
[Baltimore, MD – September 30, 2010] First Candle joins the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in warning consumers to stop using infant sleep positioners. Infant sleep positioners are devices intended to keep a baby in a desired position while sleeping. Infant sleep positioners can be purchased over-the-counter at retail stores or on websites. They are marketed for use in homes and medical facilities.
In the last 13 years, the federal government has received 12 reports of babies known to have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners. Experts warn this figure is likely a minimum, as it is not uncommon for these types of deaths to go unreported. Most of the babies suffocated after rolling from the side to the stomach.
Consumers can be misled by marketing that makes claims such as ‘can reduce the risk of SIDS’ or ‘as recommended by’ First Candle/SIDS Alliance or the AAP. “The reality is that these products have not been tested for their effectiveness at keeping babies on their back or safety for use with newborns and young babies,” says Dr. Rachel Moon, Chair of the SIDS Task Force of the AAP. “Parents should never use wedges or positioners to prop babies up or keep them on their back.”
According to Laura Reno, Director of Marketing and Communications for First Candle, parents need to understand that learning to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back is an important part of normal infant development. “Newborns are not yet strong enough to be moving around during sleep so positioners are not necessary. Once your baby does start moving around during sleep the positioners can become a suffocation hazard.” First Candle recommends putting babies to sleep on their back right from birth and never using positioners or similar products to position or restrain babies, especially once they start moving around during sleep.
First Candle reminds parents and caregivers of the following lifesaving safe sleep practices to help protect babies from SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep:
The safest place for babies to sleep is in a crib or play yard that meets current safety standards. The mattress should be firm, fit snugly and be covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
For at least the first six months, place this separate, safe sleep space in the room near where you sleep.
Use a wearable blanket or layer sleep clothing to keep babies warm without the use of loose blankets.
Do not add any soft bedding or other items to the sleep space, this includes blankets, quilts, soft or pillow-like bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals or any other soft bedding or other products.
Never use positioners or wedges to prop babies up or keep them on their back.
Bed sharing is dangerous! Breastfeed and bond with your baby in bed, but when it’s time to go to sleep place your baby in his own separate space alongside your bed.
Always place babies on their back to sleep; side and stomach sleep positions are not safe.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Allie, Anna and Emily also love to sing and dance so we are thinking of getting them into dance or ballet. This video clip shows just how much fun they have singing a song from one of two CDS they insist on listeing to when we are in the van. The words are something like “skill a wink a dink a do, skill a wink a do… I LOVE YOU…I love you in the morning, I love you…”
Friday, September 24, 2010
Mike Lowell announced he is retiring this season after playing 13 seasons in Major League Baseball.
Mike is a fan favorite and will be missed. How can you not like Mike? So it is no surprise that the Red Sox announced that their October 2, 2010 game against the Yankees has been designated "Thanks, Mike Night."
I bet we will see Mr. Lowell in some capacity for years to come – whether it be as a coach or analyst for ESPN or one of the major networks. Good luck Mike.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Left to right - Allie, Emily and Anna
With the great weather the last few weekends the TV hasn’t even been turned on during game time. However, I do wonder sometimes what the girls reaction would be if I turned the game on instead of one of their “bideos”. Ha!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I dug up this clip from when the girls had yet to talk. Yes, I have gratitude today.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
We’ve also brought Allie, Anna and Emily to Southwick’s Zoo a couple of times and Roger Williams Zoo where they have had fun watching giraffes, rhinos and chimps. I think visits to the local petting zoo have provided the best entertainment, though!
The girls, however, had never come face to face with a cow so I was a little curious to see how they would react when we decided to take them to a local dairy for an ice cream and cow viewing.
The ice cream experience was very disappointing, but the girls’ reaction was not at all disappointing. (Check out Sarah’s blog post for more on why it was such a let down.)
After a few bites of ice cream Allie went right up to the cows, said hello and starting asking the cows what their names were! I found it quite entertaining. Check out this video clip:
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
They had a demonstration outside the downtown Hyatt the other day, to commemorate the anniversary of the firing of 98 housekeepers at Hyatt hotels in and around Boston.
You probably didn’t hear about this because, well, there was this alleged hurricane barreling up the coast, and everybody was too busy preparing for the end of the world to consider the fate of a bunch of hard-working women who got treated a lot worse than the weathered shingles of the quaint shops on Nantucket.
Wanda Rosario was standing on the sidewalk outside the Hyatt. She suffered more than the indignity of losing her housekeeping job of 23 years there; she unwittingly trained her replacement, a woman who is being paid a lot less to do a lot more.
The demonstration was bittersweet for Rosario. She saw a lot of old friends and former coworkers.
“Some of them looked so skinny,’’ she said.
She attributed the weight loss to stress. Or maybe some of them aren’t spending as much on food.
Rosario’s had to cut back on everything. She gave up her cellphone, which is no small thing because she’s never needed it more. After she was out of work for six months, she got a job at the Park Plaza Hotel. On the bright side, unlike the Hyatt, it’s a union shop, Local 26, and the hotel can’t just fire her on a whim. But she was number two on the seniority list at the Hyatt. She’s number 93 at the Park Plaza. It’s as if her 23 years of work history didn’t happen.
So she has to settle for irregular shifts, and she’s always on call. She’s happy to have a job, but lucky to get two shifts a week. And so she sits by the phone in her East Boston apartment, waiting, hoping for it to ring.
A few days ago, a bunch of degenerates killed a pizza deliveryman, a Dominican immigrant named Richel Nova, for a hundred bucks. Nova’s funeral will take place tomorrow in a church a few blocks from where another Dominican immigrant, Wanda Rosario, will sit by the phone, waiting for a call so she can work.
It’s funny how we look at things. Everybody looks at what was done to Richel Nova, a man’s life for a few measly bills, and agrees it was a moral obscenity. How many look at what was done to Wanda Rosario, in the name of maximizing stockholder profits, and think it’s immoral?
The bean counters didn’t kill Wanda Rosario, but they wounded her soul, they turned her life upside down. And for what? To save what for a huge corporation is the equivalent of the chump change Richel Nova was carrying in his pocket when he made his last delivery the other night in Hyde Park.
Hyatt is hardly the only company increasing stockholder profits as it cuts jobs and pay. In this, the recession that won’t end, it’s becoming the American Way. Hyatt’s stock price has jumped 50 percent since the company went public last fall. The Hyatt owners pocketed almost $1 billion with the initial public offering. Stockholders have seen their portfolios grow.
And 57-year-old Wanda Rosario, at a time when she was just starting to think about retirement, had to start over and make due with far less.
We were sitting in her apartment the other day when the phone rang and her son handed it to her. It was the Park Plaza, and she brightened because she thought it meant more work. In fact, it meant less. A scheduled shift fell through.
Wanda Rosario chuckled ruefully at the idea of celebrating Labor Day. She doesn’t even think they should call it Labor Day anymore, because American workers aren’t valued the way they used to be. We should be more honest, she says, and acknowledge whose interests dictate what happens to working families.
“They shouldn’t call it Labor Day,’’ Wanda Rosario said. “They should call it Stockholder Day.’’
Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The route for this local 5K was the exact same route as a 5K we ran back in May. What was great about this race was they had a fun run for kids 12 and under which Allie, Anna and Emily participated in.
The girls were extremely cute (of course) and also serious about the run. They definitely understand what a “run” is from all the running Sarah and I do. The best part of the kids race was when I was holding Anna (remember she has Spina Bifida) for a minute and she said “…put me down, I want to run, daddy!” After we ran our race, Allie insisted that she wanted to run again so off we went to the track for a second lap. And they ran:
I must say I am impressed with both of our times in the 5K when you consider our ages and how sleep deprived we are! There were less than 400 registered runners (and walkers) and Sarah was able to do a 9:17 pace to finish in the upper 1/3 of her age group. I managed to push out an 8:51 pace for the 3.1 miles and finished in about the middle of my age group – not bad considering I was pushing close to 80 pounds in a stroller!
By the way, I have been running road races fairly consistently for over ten years and up until last week thought I had seen it all. That changed. If you are a runner you know that after the race runners generally hang out, hydrate and re-fuel while they exchange post-race stories. The runners do NOT spark up cigarettes or cigars. On Saturday, as Sarah and I were moving through the crowd of runners, I spotted a woman smoking a butt! And she was wearing a running bib! We will have to assume she walked the race, folks.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Despite unseasonable weather, a long drive, and sometimes cranky adults, it was a good vacation. We were fortunate to be able to stay at my oldest brother’s vacation home, which is less than a five minute drive to Storyland. That is correct. Five minutes.
Sarah has a few posts about our trip so I will not repeat. I will share, however, my favorite moment of the trip: when the girls were greeted by Cinderella at her castle. Check out the video and tell me that this isn’t the cutest thing EVAH!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
In addition to great weather, I was blessed with seeing my family as I approached mile 5. Here are my cuties enjoying some Dunkin Munchkins as they await my arrival:
I, of course, had to stop and give Anna a smooch.
As is tradition we met family (my brother, three of his children and my niece Jen's fiance all ran this year) to talk about the race and have some post-race chow and coloring.
I have to say this year's Falmouth was a good one for me. My time was the best I've posted at this race since 2003. More importantly, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the support we received for the Spina Bifida Association as I was able to raise over $2,500 for sbaMass.
In addition to some of the world's best runners running Falmouth, this year's race included Dick Hoyt and his son (see pic below). I was also told by Sarah that my sister saw Chris (bacheloerette runner-up)running the race too (sorry, no pic - LOL).
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Personally, I was just as curious about the park as I was about meeting the other families. As a child, my mother and sisters would take us to Larz Anderson Park to feed the ducks, picnic and play in the playground. The playground has been updated with great, safe swings and slides for the kids. We didn't make it down to the water, but from what I could see that section of the park was also clean.
Our girls had a blast at the playground, especially Allie - she kept saying "daddy I want to go on THAT one..." Here's a clip of the girls having some fun at the park:
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Michigan passes stillbirth/kick counting legislation through its House of Representatives. Now it’s on to the Senate!
Representative Kevin Green (R-MI) recently announced that his legislation to help expectant mothers become better educated about the dangers of stillbirth and how they may be able to prevent it has passed through the House on its way to becoming state law.
The legislation, HB6091, requires doctors to distribute information to their pregnant patients about the risk of stillbirth and the importance of kick counting to help reduce the risk of stillbirth. Green, the legislation’s sponsor, has personal experience with the issue after losing his daughter Skylar Anne to stillbirth in 2007.
“Stillbirth is an equal opportunity destroyer,” Green told the House Health Policy Committee during emotional testimony. “Getting this information to expectant mothers early on in their pregnancy could help them prevent stillbirth. Kick counting is such a simple thing to do that could save your child’s life.”
The cause of Skylar’s death is still unknown, as is the same for nearly half of stillbirth cases each year. Despite the relatively high incidence of stillbirths in the U.S. (nearly one in 150), there is little research into the causes of this heartbreaking loss of pregnancy.
HB 6091 would amend the Public Health Code to require a health care professional to inform a woman during her pregnancy of the potential risk of stillbirth and the importance of monitoring a child’s movements in the last trimester.
“It allows women to have ownership in their own healthcare by being informed about this potential risk,” Green said.
“We lost a big part of our future when Skylar passed away,” Green said. “By passing this legislation, we acknowledge parents who have lost a child due to stillbirth and hope to find ways of preventing this from happening to other families in the future.”
Read the full text of the bill here:
Thank you for helping give a voice to our daughter Abigail and all families affected by stillbirth.
Friday, August 13, 2010
My dad passed away over seven years ago. I think about my mother and how she misses her husband - as much today as she did the day we said good-bye to him.
This summer has been fun. The summer has been busy. This summer has been exhausting. Our lives, at some point, continue on after the passing of a loved one. Do I forget about Dad, do I forget about Abigail? Do I forget about Julie? My heart and soul remember. Their spirits are alive – some days brighter than others. I do not forget.
We call my mother “Ma” (or “Mah” - insert Boston accent). It breaks my heart when I think about what it must be like for Ma. Ma and Dad were married for well over 50 years before he died. My dad wasn’t able to see me as a parent. But, hopefully my mom sees the valuable lessons they taught us about marriage and parenting. My mother had a poem hanging in the kitchen when I was a kid:
Children Learn What They Live (By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.) :
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
I would be hard pressed to recall a time when my parents fought or argued. They raised thirteen children (on one income for most years) and my dad always found money to take us on vacation or the beach, or for an ice cream treat. The values instilled by their actions are priceless. Thank you dad. Thank you Ma.
Last night, when Sarah told me how Ma was missing Dad, I got mad at myself. The anger was out of forgetting their anniversary – not remembering that yesterday may be a tough day for Ma. And then I thought of Abigail – it’s been weeks since I’ve visited her at the cemetery. Do I forget? I do not forget. My heart remembers.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
From my office, my route takes me to the Storrow Drive side of the Charles River - over the Massachusetts Avenue bridge to the Cambridge side of The Charles – along Memorial Drive to The Museum Of Science and back. I estimate the run to be approximately 5 miles.
To help keep my mind off the heat, I decided to make mental observations of the people I saw during my run. Here are the results of my VERY informal survey:
• The number of people running was less than 5% of all the people I observed.
• Male runners = 70%
• Runners over 40 = 40%
• Male runners over 40 years old = 40%
• Female runners over 40 = 30%
• Male shirtless runners = too many (note: no matter how hot it gets I always wear at least a singlet.)
• Female runners in the same category = zero!
• Number of times I smelled a foul odor = 3.
• Runners wearing cotton shirts = 45%
When I returned to my desk, weather.com had increased the temperature slightly:
Feels Like: 92°
My employer provides a small workout room and showers which I utilized upon my return to the office. So, besides having a red face for awhile, I had a productive run in the heat!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Like I said, our day was fun and highlighted by some very funny and cute comments by our girls. This is from the end of the day on a car ride operated by "Santa". Talk about a mixed reaction from our daughters - Allie(in purple) and Anna sat in the front while Emily had her fun in the back seat.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
There's no school on School Street , no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square , no water on Water Street .
Massachusetts city names: (Say it wrong, be shunned)
Worcester : Wuhsta (or Woostah)
Gloucester : Glawsta
Woburn : Woobin
Dedham : Dead-um
Revere : Ra-vee-ah
Quincy : Quinzee
Tewksbury : Tooks berry
Leominster : Lemin-sta
Peabody : Pee-ba-dee
Waltham : Walth-ham
Chatham : Chaddum
Samoset: Sam-oh-set or Sum-aw-set but nevah Summerset!
Frappes have ice cream, milkshakes don't.
If it is fizzy and flavored, it's tonic.
Soda is CLUB SODA.
"Pop" is DAD.
SCROD is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish. If you paid more than $7/pound, you got scrod.
It's not a water fountain; it's a bubblah..
It's not a trashcan; it's a barrel.
It's not a spucky, a hero or grinder,... it's a sub.
It's not a shopping cart; it's a carriage.
It's not a purse; it's a pockabook.
They're not franks; they're haht dahgs; Franks are money in Switzahland.
Police don't drive patrol units or black and whites they drive a "crooza."
It's not a traffic circle, it's a rotary.
The Sox = The Red Sox
The C's = The Celtics
The B's = The Bruins
The Pat's =The Patriots
Other things you should know:
Most people live here all their life and still don't know what the hell is going on with this one:
Route 128 South is I-95 south. It's also I-93 north.
The underground train is not a subway. It's the "T", and it doesn't run all night (fah chrysakes, this ain't Noo Yawk)..
Order the "cold tea" in China Town after 2:00 am you'll get a kettle full of beer.
Bostonians.. . think that it's their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.
Bostonians.. ..think that there are only 25 letters in the alphabet (no R's)
except in "idea."
Bostonians.. .refer to six inches of snow as a "dusting."
Bostonians.. .always "bang a left" as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it.
Bostonians.. .believe that using your turn signal is a sign of weakness.
Bostonians.. .think Rhode Island accents are annoying.
Suburban Bostonians Named Rich ................are often called Mitch (this one was added by my friend Kris; inside joke)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This video captures some of the fun from a recent vist to "Grammy and Papa's beach". Their family house is within walking distance to a popular beach in a town south of us. It's kind of cool forming memories with my girls at the very beach I used to frequent in my high school days.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I am currently training for that August race again (as I have every year since 1996). And, while out on a run the other day, I started thinking about the upcoming race and Abigail. Abbey or Abigail? I most often refer to her as Abigail rather than Abbey. We never got to find out what she would have wanted to be called. She probably would have preferred Abbey. But, because I can be such a traditionalist, I would probably call her Abigail.
This year’s race is for Anna, and like every other year when I run this race, I will run with a heavy heart. I will be thinking of my now deceased dad who, along with my mother, came to the race every year to cheer my brothers and me on. I also will think of my niece Julie who, due to complications from cystic fibrosis, died at the age of 13 in 2003. And, of course, I will think about Abigail.
I will run the race in August hard. I will run strong. I will run with purpose. Most importantly, I will run with my heart open to those I love.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Now I am having issues uploading videos to BLOGGER!! I have tried several times with two or three different clips with no success. Very frustrating.
If anyone has had issues of late uploading video clips to BLOGGER and has a solution, please share. In the meantime I will do my own trouble-shooting.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
See me in the crowd talking to my brother? Sarah was already frustrated enough at this point to take off:
There's my honey in the white hat on the left - she has her eye on passing Mrs. Single Stroller!
Team Triplet reunited at about the halfway point. Here we are in the final stretch:
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Four years ago we left that home en route to the hospital expecting to welcome our first child into our lives.
As I walked through the rooms of our previous home, I was overcome with the same feelings I felt upon returning from the hospital almost four years ago. The house was dark, the outside air temperature was comfortable, but yet a chill filled the air – the kind of chill which does not go away by pulling a sweatshirt over one’s head. Bare walls and dusty window sills. Abigail’s nursery - empty again. Peering out the window into the darkness I am reminded of the overcast day when we were told our beautiful Abigail had no heart beat and had died before she could take a breath in this world.
Our current home is filled with beautiful sounds - Allie, Anna and Emily provide joy and laughter which I never dreamed possible. Just like our old house, though, my heart will never be filled to capacity. Abigail is not here with us and my heart will forever have an empty spot.
Tomorrow is June 4, 2010. It should be a day to celebrate Abigail’s birthday. There will be no celebration. We, instead will spend our day giving each of our daughters what they get and deserve everyday – our complete attention and more importantly, our love.
Abigail Ruth – June 4, 2006 – Taken from Our Arms but not Our Hearts.
Friday, May 28, 2010
A parent to multiples or not, I think most people would find the story of the Dionne quintuplets interesting. My recommendation is a book my wife Sarah and I read: We Were Five: The Dionne Quintuplets' Story, from Birth Through Girlhood to Womanhood by James Brough.
Happy Birthday Dionne Quints!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Stillbirth, and education on the prevention of stillbirth, is not talked about. PERIOD. For that reason, my heart does warm a little and my soul brightens just a bit when I read about action being taken toward preventing stillbirth. The article below, which was forwared to us by an organization called Firstcandle, provides some hope that the subject of stillbirth will someday get the attention it needs.
HOUSE PANEL APPROVES GREEN LEGISLATION TO HELP PREVENT STILLBIRTHS
May 13, 2010
State Rep. Kevin Green announced that his legislation to help expectant mothers become better educated about the dangers of stillbirth and about how they may prevent it has passed a key House panel on its way to becoming state law. The Michigan House Health Policy Committee approved legislation requiring doctors to distribute information to their pregnant patients about the risk of stillbirth. The legislation's sponsor, state Rep. Kevin Green, has personal experience with the issue after losing his daughter Skylar Anne to stillbirth in 2007.
"Stillbirth is an equal opportunity destroyer," Green, R-Wyoming, told the House Health Policy Committee during emotional testimony Wednesday. "Getting this information to expectant mothers early on in their pregnancy could help them prevent stillbirth. Counting kicks is such a simple thing to do that could save your child's life."
The cause of Skylar's death is still unknown, as is the same for nearly half of stillbirth cases each year. Despite the relatively high incidence of stillbirths in the U.S. (nearly one in 100), there is little research into the causes of this heartbreaking loss of pregnancy.
House Bill 6091 would amend the Public Health Code to require a health care professional to inform a woman during her pregnancy of the potential risk of stillbirth and the importance of monitoring a child's movements in the last trimester.
"It allows women to have ownership in their own healthcare by being informed about this potential risk," Green said.
"We lost a big part of our future when Skylar passed away," Green said. "By passing this legislation, we acknowledge parents who have lost a child due to stillbirth and hope to find ways of preventing this from happening to other families in the future."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the runner."
– Noel Carroll
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Unfortunately, this mother's day wasn't so perfect. The girls got the best of both Sarah and I most of the weekend, and it showed. It wasn't a total bad day - Allie, Anna and I had a nice visit to my mother's house which included some bubble blowing and cupcakes. And Emily was able to have some quality one-on-one time with her mommy. Despite the fun, however, it was definitely a tough day for us.
I am down on myself for being so short my my girls today, especially Allie. I am also down on myself for not being able to give Sarah the type of Mother's Day she deserves. Not that its an excuse, but I think I am a decent husband (and dad)most of the time so hopefully today's "set back" is just temporary.
I am a man blessed in many ways and I cannot forget that. I love you Allie. I love you Anna. I love you, Emily. I love you Sarah.
Happy Mother's Day.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Mommy and daddy took me to the pee pee doctor today but I didn't cry because I know mommy & daddy don't like to see me cry. The lady at the doctor's office blew bubbles all over the room and she let me blow bubbles too! It was fun! The room was kinda scary because there was a whole bunch of people that were doing funny things to me but mommy held my hand the whole time so I wouldn't cry. And I got to watch a Dora video at the pee pee doctor too. I like watching Caliou and Elmo, but Dora is okay. And then we went to see the other doctor and we had to wait a LONG time but I was a good girl. I read books and played with the other kids who were at the pee pee doctor. And I ate a whole banana. I like bananas. I like ice cream and pizza too but I didn't have ice cream at the doctor's today. Maybe next time.
Mommy had to work after the doctor so daddy and me drove mommy to work and then I fell asleep in my big girl car seat. I was so tired. It was a busy day. I really didn't want to go to the doctor today but I knew mommy and daddy would be mad if I didn't go. Allie and Emily gave me kisses this morning before I left for the doctor so I wouldn't cry. I love my sisters. They got to play outside today when I was at the doctor. That's okay. Next time I'll play with my sisters on the swings.
I like to get tucked in at night and I like when grammy, mommy or daddy read me a story. I'm tired. Mommy and daddy told me to stay in my big girl bed until morning time. I like my big girl bed. I like playing with beads too. Maybe in the morning I can have Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast.
I think mommy & daddy worry about me so I try to be brave for them. I love mommy. I love daddy. I'm getting tired now, though so I better go nighty-night. Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday was an awesome day with the girls doing everything from errands in the moring to putting together their new swingset in the afternoon.
Sunday was spent at The Big Apple Circus, follwed by an awesome dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (and I must say my girls were extremely well behaved at both).
As Olivia's mom says to Olivia:"... (girls) you wear me out....!" To bed I go.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
We are taking the taking the girls to The Big Apple Circus this weekend - something normal families do, right? We shall see how normal the day at the circus turns out. The girls get so much attention in public that sometimes I feel like we are the circus. It will be interesting to see how much time the crowd spends watching the show they paid for, rather than watching our show - three crazy, yet adorable, girls!
Monday, April 19, 2010
The Boston Marathon gets in your blood. Every year on Patriot's Day, no matter what is going on in my life, my mind and heart always goes to the marathon. Three years ago today I watched the marathon while sitting in a hospital room with Sarah (and her parents) waiting to take Emily and Alicenne home for the first time. At the same time, runners were crossing the finish line less than two miles from us. (Note: Sarah's c-section was originally scheduled for the day of the marathon!)
So...who knows when I’ll get another picture of me “trudging” along a 26.2 mile course.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I do not have time to elaborate on the reasons for being emotional this week, so you are spared. I will just say that the night of the girls' birthday, after they had fallen asleep, I went to each of their rooms to check on them (as I often do). Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about how much I love them. I thought to myself "Is it possible for my heart to hold any more love?"
I believe I've posted this clip previously, but I am doing so again as a reminder of just how precious life is.
Happy Birthday Alicenne, Anna and Emily!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The girls wiped me out this week and I had zero opportunity to catch up on sleep this weekend so I am going to bed NOW. Good night.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I was extremely fortunate to travel to Augusta Georgia in 2004 and watch a couple of rounds of The Masters at Augusta National.
A ticket/badge to The Masters is an extremely tough ticket, by the way.
For me, walking the grounds of Augusta for the first time was an experience unlike any other. It was everything I expected, and more. I stood within earshot of Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. I crossed the immaculate fairways of the historic golf course. The patrons are all civil - there were no loud, belligerent men shouting at the players. Having a sandwich, soda and chips for $5 was nice too!
One of my younger brothers has been going to The Masters for the past ten years or so and he is the reason why I was able to go back in 2004. He is there now. I am jealous.
Friday, April 9, 2010
My daughter Emily (whether my wife Sarah will admit it or not) is Mommy's girl. When she was a baby, she slept with Sarah. Only Sarah could feed Emily. Emily would only stop crying when her mommy held her. Emily is almost 3 and still has many days when she will not leave Sarah's side.
Emily does hang out and play with her daddy now, though. And I, of course, love it! I never thought the day would come when I could play with my daughters. The last few nights, upon arriving home from work, Emily has said "daddy, come in the living room and play with me". You don't have to ask me twice, Em! Emily and I also have another connection with a bedtime routine of me telling her a story. Every night now Emily will say "daddy tell me a story". Daddy's true, real life stories include Daddy Goes to School, Daddy Goes to the Doctor and Daddy Gets Stung by Bees - the story most requested by Em (I'll have to do a post on that story sometime).
Here's a video clip of Emily (and Anna) demonstrating how adorable she is.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I cannot recall how much the girls weighed the last time I pushed them, but right now in total they weigh over 75 pounds. So, as you can imagine, as good as the triple jogger is, pushing them for about 3 miles was tough!
I plan to push them in a local 5K Sarah are will run next month so I need to do a couple more runs before then. Here's a glimpse of what it is like to push 3 year old triplets:
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I pulled two other Elmos from storage today and Allie adopted them as Elmo's mommy and daddy. Later in the day I was able to capture Allie and Anna giving goodnight love to the entire Elmo family. Too cute.
Friday, April 2, 2010
-Running along the Charles River (in shorts) during my lunch break today!
-The water left behind from the historic rainfalls we received in March is starting to dry up.
-The forecasted 70+ degree weather this weekend!
-The Sox opening their promising 2010 season Sunday night.
-Celebrating our girls’ third birthday next week.
-Preparations have begun in Copley Square for Marathon Monday.
-I got to listen to Sarah tell me how great my daughters’ did today at their first gymnastics class this morning!
-Did I mention the forecasted 70+ degree weather this weekend!
Friday, March 26, 2010
As a reminder, Anna has five doctors she sees at least once a year. She sees her pediatrician, her neurosurgeon, nephrologist, urologist and neurologist. She now has her very own gastroenterologist. SIX doctors.
In my inner soul lies a huge amount of gratitude for Anna’s health. To some this may not make sense, to others it may be understandable. It could be worse. It could be much “worse”. We could be talking about wheelchairs. After Sarah’s first ultrasound and the discovery of the opening in Anna’s spine, we were told about selective reduction options. Spina bifida is not pretty. And it does not go away.
I've gotten comments from people such as “well, she will get better, right?” or “she will not always be like this, right”. I understand comments like that are often said out of ignorance. Comments like that may also reflect the person’s sympathy. In other words: I don’t like the fact that Anna has a condition so…I’ll just pretend like it will go away and that will make me feel better.
Yes, I get the “why Anna?” attitude at times. I get mad, maybe even a little bitter that Anna will be physically restricted throughout her life. Doctor visits, daily medications and Anna’s unsteadiness on her feet sometimes make this dad mad. Sarah & I have learned however, that all these “things” make Anna even more special, more lovable and more adorable.
We have a Fisher Price jungle gym type thing in our back yard. Thank you Grammy. Check out Anna (and Allie) play on the slide in the video below. Not bad for a girl with physical limitations, eh? Go Anna!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So, here I am. Over a year after I started the process,s I am enrolled and taking my second graduate level class in my second semester. Only one class. With twenty years since I obtained my undergraduate degree and three soon-to-be 3 year-olds at home, one class is enough.
My first class went great. It was hyped by the University to be difficult - almost like a right of passage into the program. The class consisted of a big team project, which consumed quite a bit of time outside of class. I kept telling Sarah "I just need to pass". Long story short is I ended the class with an "A-". Thank you very much.
On to class #2 this semester. The difference is like night and day. This math class I had heard was "fairly easy". I walk into the class - there were nine students. NINE. My first class had 38. The class starts and the instructor is all business and says "let's go to the lab". So our classes are held in a building on the other side of the campus in a computer lab in the basement. With 8 other students. No where to hide.
Long story short: I am struggling in this class. My grade on the mid-term was the second lowest in the class. The professor wrote "talk to me" on my exam. NOT GOOD. When I got my grade I immediately second guessed my decision to return to school. "What am I doing?" I thought to myself.
I have been deflated. Both my enthusiasm for school and my self-esteem are currently lying at the bottom of a shallow, dried up river somewhere in the middle of Australia. Let's hope I am able to retrieve them.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
At least once a day for the past several weeks either Sarah or me have said "where do they come up with this stuff" in reference to things our daughters have either said or done. Take, for example, last weekend. We had one of those spectacular New England spring days when everyone is outside - doing yard work, washing their car, shooting hoops or just hanging out. We took full advantage of the nice weather and had the girls playing outside as much as possible. During the time the girls were playing outside there were several of the "where do they come up with that?" moments. In this video clip, the girls are "planting pizza". Check it out:
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
When I am tired and cranky…
When it seems as though every person on the road is trying to cut me off…
When I am wondering what this life is all about…. I watch my daughters.
I listen to what my daughters say.
I look in my daughters’ eyes and see the true joy of life.
I captured Anna “reading’ a book to Allie (and then Emily) the other day. I believe the book is Elmo Goes to the Library. Watch the video and listen to Anna tell the story. Reflecting on moments like this brings me back to what it is all about it.
Enjoy the cuteness!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
To continue Sarah's post regarding the funny things that come out of our girls' mouths, the clip below captures a cute conversation I had with Allie last weekend regarding a rare one-on-one trip to run a couple of errands. I took her to the "daddy store" (Home Depot) and the grocery store earlier that day. Em makes an appearance in this video also with a big "hello" before Anna grabs the camcorder - she always wants to see what's in the viewfinder!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sarah and I heard those words quite often when the girls were young (and had very little hair!). For some reason, when we would be out in public, strangers would assume whoever was in the black single stroller was a boy. It used to drive us crazy!! Yes, the girls were pretty much bald for the longest time but if you at least looked before speaking you could see they were all girls!! Anyway, for the first time in at least a year the statement “two girls and a boy” was mouthed to us in an elevator on Monday.
The words took on a completely different meaning this time however. Sarah’s mom, Sarah and I were making our way out of the hospital after Anna’s ultrasound appointment (see Sarah’s post for more) on Monday. I had carried Allie (a bit crabby due to lack of sleep and teething) to the cashier of the somewhat antiquated parking garage within the city/hospital while Sarah and Sheila hopped in the elevator to start the process of loading the girls for the ride home. Because the building is so old, the elevators move extremely slow so I was able to pay the cashier and reach the elevator just in time for Allie and me to join the rest of the family for the elevator ride.
The elevator was small, but there was enough room for all of us, the stroller, and a couple of other passengers. My mind was preoccupied with getting to work and Anna’s ultrasound so I hadn’t given much notice to the elevator passenger next to me. Sarah, however, noticed he was carrying two balloons – one pink and one blue so she made a comment to the gentleman – something like “did you have twins?” The guy responded with “triplets, actually”. I took notice. His next statement was “two girls and a boy”. In the next two minutes we learned they were born four days previously at about 31 weeks and were all three were breathing on their own.
Before the new dad got off the elevator, Sarah told him to get some sleep. I didn’t say anything – I just thought to myself "he is in for quite a ride”.