Sunday, April 29, 2012

Twinke Toes.

After having not run all week, I got two decent runs in this weekend.  Yesterday I ran for about a half hour and today I did the same.  Yesterday's run was going to be me pushing Allie in the single Baby Jogger but Emily decided she wanted to come along so I pulled out the Triple Jogger.  I will say it was kind of odd having the one empty seat in the triple stroller (Anna wanted alone time with Sarah) but it was easier than pushing 3 for sure!  The wind did make parts of the run challenging, though.  We did probably just under 3 flat miles in sunny, but cool conditions.

Today's run I snuck in after we put the girls to bed and before the sun went down.  Cool conditions again, but the clear crisp air was great for running.  I know I will be missing these running conditions come July!  Oh and who says running doesn't pay?  I came home 35 cents richer after first picking up a quarter and then a dime about a 1/2 mile down the same street! (Sarah rolled her eyes when I told her of my cash findings.)

Although somewhat uneventful, it was an overall nice weekend spent at home.  I have been the who has done the grocery shopping in this family since I remember (and it is something I don't mind doing).  Sometimes I go alone.  Sometimes I take all three girls.  Sometimes I take two with me. 

Today I took Allie only.  Well Allie and Elmo.  And a toy shopping cart.  Oh my was Allie a cutie pushing the little cart around the grocery store wearing her new Skecher Twinkle Toes sneaks! Allie had decided it was safest to leave Elmo in the van while we shopped.  Good idea, Allie.  Although it would have been too stinking cute if Allie put Elmo in her shopping cart!

By the way, it seems I can never do a weekly shopping grocery shopping trip without spending at least $100.  Today's total was $117.27 although total savings (according to the receipt) were $30.83!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pump Up The Volume.

A few highlights from the girls' birthday party at a local "bouncy" party place a couple of weeks ago:

ALL the kids had a blast!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kind and Merciful

I have been drained beyond belief today.  This is nothing new.  But today is different.

Sarah and I attended funeral services for the brother of my sister-in-law.  He was about my age and died suddenly.  I had met J a few times and he played in my family's annual Thanksgiving day football game a couple of times, but I really didn't know him well. 

I do however, consider myself close to my sister-in-law, my brother, and my brother's children who are grieving the loss of a good man.  My nephew is especially hit hard by the loss.  J was like an older brother to my nephew.

When I attend services for the deceased I listen more attentively to the priest (or pastor) than I normally would at church. 

He spoke about God being Kind and Merciful.

I meditated on those words this morning and prayed that J's family finds peace (sometime...somewhere) in their hearts.  J's death has hit me hard, considering that I did not know him very well at all.

I cannot imagine the road of feelings and emotions which lie ahead for my nephew and niece, my sister-in-law, my brother, and the rest of the family and friends left to work through the feelings swirling about inside of them.

The Lord is Kind and Merciful.

Rest in Peace J.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ya, they can run.

Thankfully there are only two weeks of classes left in this semester. Two weeks will go by fast, but it is crunch time so I do have a fair amount of work to get done in the two weeks. Fortunately Sarah's mom helps us out with tthe girls a great deal - this gives me some time to do homework (and take care of the "honey do" list). to campus in a bit to bang out some of the assignments due in the coming days...

Sleep deprivation and a technical mishap (new Blogger format) resulted in a video not being posted a couple of nights ago so here it is...a somewhat competitve race between Allie Anna & Emily. I especially like Allie's comments.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What are the odds?

Today I attended a workshop required by the state for individuals on unemployment.  The seminar/workshop went as I had expected, having attended something similar the last time I was unemployed.

At some point during the workshop, the woman conducting the seminar told us (there was @20 of us) that a few of us would be selected for some additional program.  The program would require those selected to stay a little longer today and would also require some additional time outside of the workshop.  "Individuals are selected randomly by the computer" the woman said.  I knew I would be selected.  Sure enough, my name was one of the five selected to participate in the program.  What are the odds?

(Spending a few hours of my day at a career center run by the state is not my idea of fun but I accept it and understand why the state requires unemployment claimants to attend these workshops.  No biggie at all.  I do find it interesting how other people on unemployment view this benefit, however.)

It just so happened that the workshop was conducted in the same town where my sister is currently hospitalized with pneumonia.  So I was able to spend a little time with sister P before heading back toward home.  Yes, pneumonia just like Sarah's mom had last year.  What are the odds?

Our daughter Abigail is resting in a cemetery a few miles from our home.  I pulled in to visit the daughter who would have been turning 6 in several weeks.  The back of her stone reads Our Little Angel ~  Taken From Our Arms But not Our Hearts.  Sarah and I went to the hospital in June 2006 to welcome our first child into the world.  Instead we are told she had died before breathing a breath outside of Sarah's womb.  What are the odds?

Over five and a half years ago Sarah's ultrasound technician tells Sarah and me "I see three babies."  What are the odds?

Just over 5 years ago Sarah delivers 3 beautiful girls we name Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing.  What are the odds?

Monday, April 23, 2012

27 Hours

Sarah and I spent an extremely rare night away without the girls this past weekend. And, aside from the emotions which come with being away from my daughters, I had a very nice time.

We left the girls at Sarah's parents at about 11:00 am Saturday morning and picked them up at about 2:00 on Sunday (thanks to Sagamore Bridge contstruction). In many ways it felt like a LONG time, but in other ways, it felt short. VERY short.

I, of course am writing this post after a long, but fun day as Daddy. So...I am tired and short on time. For now I will just note some things that come to mind about the weekend.

- I love my family.

 - The Chatham Bars Inn (CBI) is a great place to stay.

- The CBI is not a place we can afford to frequent.

- I thoroughly enjoyed walking a somewhat deserted Nausett Beach with Sarah and watching the surf. At times I felt like we were back to the dating days.

- The food at CBI is tasty.

- The fried clam roll at Baxter's Restaurant in Hyannis rocked!

- I thought about my daughters a lot.

- A nightclub in Hyannis called Pufferbellies still exists after all these years (I had a couple of cold ones there back in the day).

- I'm fortunate to have parents who brought us to the Cape on vacation when I was a kid. I hope Sarah and I can do the same for Allie, Anna and Emily.

Time for bed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Working at the Car Wash

Exhausted, both emotionally and physically, I am trying to focus on getting through the next three weeks. After the last final exam of the semester, I will have almost a 3 week break before the final push to finish my MBA classes. The end is in sight! I got Allie, Anna and Emily to "help" me wash the family vehicle yesterday. Let's hope their enthusiasm toward helping around the house continues. Ya, right! Here's a clip of my little helpers working at the car wash:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The sun shines every day.

Today was a fairly typical day in my new role as part-time graduate student, part-time stay at home dad and part-time job seeker. It went something like this:

This morning - bring the girls downstairs, catherize Anna. Give Anna her meds. Get the girls breakfast while Sarah gets ready for work. Grammy (Sarah's mom) drives Sarah to the train station and picks me up a coffee from Dunkin' (thank you Sheila!). The remainder of the morning Grammy watched the girls while I did some homework and job search stuff.

Afternoon - fed the girls lunch while Grammy got ready to hit the road. Lunch is generally at least an hour start to finish between set-up and clean-up so it was about 1:30 when I had to think about what to do with the afternoon. It was turning into a nice day so I wanted to do something outdoors with the girls. The problem was that they had gone to the playground in the morning with Grammy so they were not eager to play in the yard right away. "Want to help me wash the car, guys?" They were on their feet in seconds and ready to go! So...we washed the van and Grammy's car and ended up spending a couple of hours outside on a great spring day. Between blowing bubbles, washing the cars, and riding bikes, the girls and I had a lot of fun.

The next 2-3 hours was dinner prep and clean-up, pick-up mommy at the train, and then bedtime madness.

Full, exhausting day for sure. But gratifying and joyful.

This clip is from Monday when the barometer reached the mid-80's. Allie is singning some song she made-up...something like "my new purple shoes"....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Dear Allie,

I remember vividly the time we spent together when you were an infant. You slept relatively sound most nights and you were often the easiest to put to sleep at night after you had your bottle. "Moonie" was the name mommy gave you because of your moon-like face. We had some special moments while sharing a bedroom in your first weeks as an infant and I think that has helped us form a special bond.

It makes my heart skip a beat whenever you tell me that you missed me while I was at school and when you give me a squeeze hug before I walk out the door. Last night was especially heart-warming when you woke up while I was shutting your window. Your eyes opened, you sat-up, and a huge smile came over your face when you saw me in your room. Simply precious.

I have one favor to ask - could you PLEASE sleep good tonight? Actually, a few nights in a row would be best. I am exhausted and last night was brutal. I know you had a bad dream and were visibly upset. I understand. I really do. I gave you hugs. I slept next to you for awhile. You came into our bed too. But you didn't sleep well. At all. And either did I.

So...please try to sleep better. Thank you.


Pics from the summer-like weather we had on Monday:




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Right Under Your Nose.

This semester's crunch time is fast approaching and I have not helped myself out by procrastinating on a term paper and presentation which I noticed today is due in two weeks. ARGH! It is a group project, which in some ways helps but in other ways makes it more painful. If you've been in an MBA program or have done school group projects you know what I mean by "painful". At least it's an interesting topic - comparing accounting in China to US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Interesting, eh? NOT!

I had a great (although somewhat short) run today along a section of the Boston Harborwalk. It meanders through the school campus and follows the harbor past the JFK Presidential Library before reaching South Boston, Castle Island, and beyond.

In other news....I was going to write about the Little Lion crisis in our house last night, but Sarah did. can read her post for the details of last night's events. And if you are thinking "how much could this lion mean to Emily", you should watch this video of Little Lion getting washed:

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Anna was drawing pictures and told me she was going to draw a picture for me to give to all my brothers and sisters. So, she went to work drawing the pictures. Emily, upon hearing Anna say that she was going to draw a picture for each of my sisters and brothers said "Boy, she is going to be busy ALL day long drawing pictures!" I have 12 siblings.

Workout Log: Ran for about 35 minutes around my school campus, which is located on Boston Harbor. Sunny and warm - @80 degrees. Tough, but much needed run.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marathon Monday.

Me to Sarah tonight: Are you taking your normal train (to work) tomorrow morning?

Sarah: Yes, why wouldn't I?

Me: Because its a holiday.

Sarah: Its not a (bleepin') holiday, its a regular work day!

Tomorrow is Patriot's Day. If you have never heard of Patriots Day, it is a holiday which commemorates The Battles of Lexington and Concord. It is only celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine and it is only a holiday for some employees (not for Sarah obviously) in Boston. It is however, a big day in Boston not only because of the historical significance, but also because the Boston Marathon is run and the Red Sox play at Fenway. I've always known tomorrow as Marathon Monday. Sarah was actually originally scheduled to deliver Allie, Anna and Emily on Marathon Monday 5 years ago, but that is another story.

So, in honor of all those running tomorrow (including my niece Lori), I have posted this clip of Allie and Emily "running" on our treadmill. I think it is hysterical. Elmo even gives the treadmill a try!

Workout Log: Local 5K route. Felt great and thoroughly enjoyed the run with temps @ 70 degrees.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Beach Party.

We had the girls' birthday party at a "bouncy" party place in a nearby town today. The girls have been looking forward to this day for weeks and Sarah & I are very happy that the girls had an absolute blast! Our entire family is wiped out from all the excitement of the past week, though. I also got some horrific news about a family member's sibling so the emotional tank is definitely on E right now.

Since I wasn't able to sift through videos from today, I'm posting a cute clip from Easter. We had dinner at Sarah's parents' house, which is walking distance to the beach. We took the short drive to check out the surf, despite the wind and chilly temperature:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Look at me, I can do gymnastics!

Exhausted was the adjective of the day for most of us. Sarah & I are definitely drained and Anna was also visibly tired. So...brief but cute (of course) post tonight.

This clip is of the girls at their gymnastics class. I was able to capture a few clips of Anna in action and she is adorable. Anna doesn't shy away from giving a 110% effort despite her spina bifida. Orange shorts = Anna. Pink = Allie. Yellow top = Emily. It was "beach" day, thus the bathing suit attire!

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Allie, upon seeing that her sister Anna received a check for her birthday: "I want one of those, Daddy can you make copies and give me one?"

Workout Log: Snuck in a much-needed run of about 3 miles before we put the girls to bed. Near perfect running weather - high 60's and crisp clear air.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday To Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing

In celebration of the girls' 5th birthday, I pulled together a few clips from the past few years.

(The video isn't exactly what I had in mind, but it will have to do.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Picked up along the way.

One advantage of getting "old" is the wisdom we pick up along the way...years ago, I heard it said that it is good practice to think of two or three things for which one is grateful for each day. I try to practice this daily and my list usually does not change much from day to day.

I am grateful for:

- My health.
- My wife Sarah.
- Allie, Anna and Emily.
- A bed to sleep in.
- The fact that I have never had to go to bed hungry.

Random picture from two years ago:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Teeny Tiny Babies

With me being home and our daughters' birthday in a few days, I have been reflecting quite a bit on Sarah's pregnancy, their birth and the 5 years since....

This video captures one of the MANY special moments for us a family. After the girls were born, Anna spent about two weeks in the NICU before coming home to be with Allie and Emily (who had been home for over a week). But, before Anna was discharged, we took Allie (left) and Em (right) in to see Anna (middle):

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Allie to me in the morning: Daddy, you don't smell handsome in the morning. You should take a shower. You always smell handsome when you take a shower.

Workout Log: About 2.5 miles mid-morning on the treadmill. Very tough getting started and felt sluggish the entire run so I took it slow before bumping up the pace for the last 1/4 mile.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Allie - Emily - Anna

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Evaluations, Playgrounds and Friends

Employee Evaluation ratings:

Frequently Exceeds Expectations

Frequently Meets Expectations

Sometimes Meet Expectations

Meets Some, But Does Not Meet All Expectations

Does Not Meet Expectations - Improvement Needed

Sarah and I recently met with our daughters' preschool teachers and, as is the American way, they are "rated" on their performance. Allie, Emily and Anna are all doing great in school - obvious good news to us.

If you are a parent, you know that talking to the teachers offers a perspective which you may not get at home. And we had some interesting conversations with the teachers last week, especially with Anna's teacher.

The "skinny" on Anna has been her inability or unwillingness to talk at school. We were told she has gotten better, but Anna definitely is known as one of the shy ones at school.

WELL...since I have been home during the day, I have witnessed Anna in action and she has shown the extrovert in herself! Two or three times in the past days she has made a friend and/or introduced herself (and her sisters) to a new friend while we were at a local playground.

"What is your name?" "My name is Anna and my sisters are Allie and Emily." "How old are you?" These are just a few of the things I have witness Anna say to another girl the past few days.

Today was an especially heart-warming day when Anna was unexpectedly reunited with a her friend R. When Anna saw R at the playground, Anna basically yelled to R: Hey, what is your name? Anna (and Allie and Emily) spent the remainder of their time at the playground playing with R. And Anna had a smile and noticeable boost in energy the next couple of hours. R even invited the girls to peer into the window of her classroom. R is in kindergarten, which makes her even more of a "star" to the girls.

I'm grateful I was able to share in the joy Anna experienced this past week playing with her friends (old & new).

Here's a few clips of Allie, Emily and Anna playing on the infamous "green" playground:

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Anna to a friend at the playground, rattled off about six questions in 10 seconds including "what kind of cake are you having on your birthday." Anna's friend responded with "I don't know" and I could tell Anna's friend was wondering why she asked about the cake choice for a birthday months in advance!
Workout Log: About 3 miles mid-day on a regular local route. Felt surprisingly strong throughout the run. Great running conditions - sun through clouds and cool - high 40's to low 50's.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday (a.k.a. Fun Kid Friday)

Not sure if it is my age or the influence of my childhood, but I am pretty big on having family traditions and doing things as a family each holiday. And since the girls became old enough where we could "do stuff" as a family, we started to instill a sense of tradition with each holiday.

So...Easter. Easter, like Christmas, is a holiday in which I think the true meaning gets lost. I am not opposed to Easter or Christmas fun - don't get me wrong. I guess it is important to ME to think about what Easter really means as a Catholic. With that said, our girls are much too young to begin to understand the meaning of Easter, Good Friday, etc. We did, however, have several conversations over the past few days about holidays - mostly because the girls were asking why they didn't have preschool and they wanted to know when they could play on the playground at the local elementary school!

Emily (yesterday): "Mommy, Daddy took us to play at the green playground (elementary school playground) today but the kids were still in school and it was really busy there so we couldn't play on it."

Allie, Anna and Emily (since yesterday): "Can we play on the green playground today?"

Woven into the multiple question and answer sessions today on school closings, holidays, and the Easter bunny was an attempt to explain Good Friday. Ya, well they don't quite get it yet. Emily ended up saying something like "they should just call it Fun Kid Friday". Well, I'm not sure that will happen, but I think Allie, Anna and Emily did have a fun day today (Good Friday)! We took them to the green playground and they loved it!

This video is a few clips of the girls doing a few Easter-related activities the past several days - including their visit with the Easter Bunny himself (or herself)!

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Allie, Anna and Emily were debating about the sex of the person dressed as the Easter bunny they visited today. It was pretty comical. Emily suggested that because she did not see a lot of hair under the costume it was a boy Easter bunny. Allie responded that maybe it was a lady Easter bunny and you couldn't see her hair because it was up in a bun. You go Allie!

Workout Log: No workout other than chasing, lifting and keeping up with my daughters all day!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Workout Log: Ran approximately 3 miles. Crisp, clear day with some wind - temps in the high 50's/ low 60's. Flat route close to home.

Funny things the girls say: Emily, while sitting on my lap after I did my run this morning said "You smell runningish, daddy. I think I will get down."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Humble Pie. defines humility as the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc.

At about 10:00 a.m. a few weeks ago, I turned on my computer at work. I had arrived at my normal Monday morning time after dropping the girls off at preschool and making the approximate one hour commute into the city.

Shortly after 11:00 I received a phone call from a woman in the human resource department asking me if I could come to her office.

I am about to lose my job.

At about 11:45 I walked out of that office. I was no longer an employee of the company for which I had worked for over three and one half years.

I cannot believe this just happened.

Having had my share of humble pie over the years, this piece of humility has been very difficult to swallow.

I'm in my forties. Over twenty years of experience and this is what I am left with!?

I am not naive enough to believe what I post on the Internet cannot be used against me so the story behind me leaving my employer will remain off the 'net. Suffice to say, however that the past three weeks has been a roller coaster ride for me. Anger, disappointment, fear and a sense of failure are just some of the emotions which have kept me up at night.

Sometimes I just don't get it. I feel as though both Sarah and I have had ENOUGH. Seriously. Why is it that some people (you know them) never seem to experience true humility?

Time to move on, I know. Better opportunities lie ahead, right?

It just wasn't meant to be.

Things happen for a reason.

The BEST thing about not doing the daily grind is having more time to witness the incredible magic of Allie, Anna and Emily grow.




Monday, April 2, 2012

Playing School.

Having all girls the same age has many benefits (and drawbacks, of course). The obvious benefits are the purchase of clothing - for the most part Sarah only needs to get one (or two) size. There are no hand-me-downs, which is a drawback, of course.

An advantage of having all girls is that we don't have the competing interests many families have when there are both boys and girls. The girls don't have a brother complaining that he doesn't want to watch a "stupid" princess movie.

The girls DO fight, of course. A day (or sometimes an hour) doesn't pass without Allie, Anna or Emily pouting to Sarah or me that "sissy won't play with me" or "sissy took my dolly" or "sissy hit me". They are siblings. They have their moments.

For the MOST part though, the girls play well with each other. This clip of them playing school is just one example of the MANY creative ways they play together. Barbie is the teacher (I think):