Monday, July 28, 2008

I wish there was a better reason to post

The phone rang at 6:30 on Friday morning. I wish it didn't. I wish there was no reason for the phone to ring. It was my friend Kelly Meeker. She had bad news. My dad was being brought to the hospital. It was the word that no one wants to hear. Stroke. Yup, my dad had a stroke. No one knows when it started. Since there was very little background on the stroke, the hospital didn't have many options. There are very brief windows of opportunity. I called my boss to give him a "heads-up" and immediately headed to the local hospital. After a few hours of very tense waiting, the local hospital sent him down to Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC. They thought that Mt. Sinai would be better able to treat the condition. Unfortunatley no one could figure out where the clot occurred. Mt. Sinai wasn't able to do anything either. They checked him in and told us that they would watch him closely. He's still there and probably will be for a while.

Taryn and I drove down to NYC on Friday afternoon. Taryn had a class last week that was finishing up on Friday. She had no choice. She had to go. I went out to my office and grabbed my computer, checked a few messages, and headed home. I got home around the same time that Taryn finished class. We hit the road and got to the hospital around 4pm.

Dad looked so small and frail in the hospital bed. He was sleeping when we arrived. That wasn't unexpected. He had slept most of the morning when I was at St. Luke's (the local hospital). He woke up after one of the many rounds of nursing visits. It appears that he has mostly left side weakness. He isn't really slurring his words but he is talking very slowly. He has little use of his left hand right now and I'm not sure how his leg is doing. He is also having trouble swallowing. I also don't know how longterm these issues are going to be. The doctor told us that the main issue will be perception. I'm not sure what that means but they said that the "left side of his world will be non-existent." They said that he'll need a eye check once he is out of the hospital to see what really happened. My dad has worn glasses most of his life. It was very strange to see him in the hospital without them.

Personally, I don't know if I have really accepted that this has happened. I have been thinking about dad constantly but I feel like I haven't given myself an opportunity to be sad. I wanted to be strong for my family. I have to remember that my kids need me.

I'm really at a loss for words. I thought that writing about how I was feeling would help me but all I feel is lost. I'm sorry. I'll try to update about all of the other insane things that have been going on around here in the past few weeks. All I can say is that I'm exhausted. Physically and emotionally exhausted.... If anyone is reading this, please have a good thought about my dad. It would mean a lot to me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bye-Bye Ba-Ba

We now have 3 year olds! I'll explain the title in a bit. First, the weekend!

Fourth of July is a really nice way to kick off your birthday weekend. Unfortunately, Friday was anything but relaxing. Since the weekend was going to contain multiple birthday parties, it was time to prepare. Mom, Oscar, Taryn, Jon and I all came together to get ready for the party at our house. We were more productive than any of us had ever expected. Jon and Oscar worked their butts off outside. The yard looked so wonderful! They mowed, cleaned up the weeds, built up the support on the deck and did so much to make the yard look great! While they were outside, we were inside. You never realize how much cleaning is needed until you start looking with that critical eye before a party. We put ourselves into it and the place looked great. Take a few breaks to go to Sam's Club and the grocery store and we were as ready as we could get. We decided to celebrate the 4th after all the work and bought a beautiful London Broil to throw on the grill. After all the hard work it was wonderful to sit down with a great dinner and some drinks to celebrate. OK, enough sitting down, we needed to get back on our feet and head out to see fireworks!

Aidan and Amanda have never seen fireworks. Until now they were just too little to venture out at 9pm. This year we thought they would enjoy the show and it was a wonderful way to kick off the birthday weekend. We headed to Beacon to enjoy the fireworks with the Meeker and Simmonds families. We parked our car at Simmonds' house and walked over to the park. It was a fun walk with about 20 people winding through the back streets to the field. The show was a bit slow to start but once it got going it was beautiful! Aidan did not like the noise. I had a feeling he would be upset by it. He is one of those kids that complains if the music is too loud. Once the show started he buried his head in my chest and slowly started peeking as the pretty colors grabbed his interest. He spent the entire time with his hands and my hands covering his ears but he loved the show. Amanda covered her ears for a few minutes but she decided it wasn't too bad and she had a great time! After the show was over we walked back and hung out for a while. An old family friend stopped by and it brought back so many memories. By 11pm we realized how late it was and we decided to end the day and get the kids home. The fun had just begun!

Saturday was the party in Beacon. We were up bright and early to get pulled together. I made baked ziti and we got the kids bathed and dressed. We had hoped to head out by around 10 and in typical fashion, we headed out closer to 12. After some confusion with picking up a keg for the party, we got to Mike and Julie's house and started the festivities. The guests were not expected until 3 but there was a lot to do in the meantime. The kids played for a while and we finally convinced them to take a nap at around 1:30 so that they would be ready for their party. They napped at my dad's house (who, by the way, is doing wonderfully after his bypass surgery! He came home last Tuesday and we're having trouble getting him to rest!). The guests started to arrive and everyone wanted to know where Aidan and Amanda were. We had some trouble getting them up from their nap but once they remembered that it was party day, they were ready to go! We all had a wonderful time talking, laughing, playing games and enjoying a beautiful day. There was a constant threat of a storm but it held off. We got a few sprinkles right around the time we decided to open presents but that was it. We tried on a few occasions to put the kids to bed but they refused! We finally convinced them to lay on the couch and watch a show. We visited with the remaining guests for a few hours. My cousin Mary ran home and grabbed her guitar and we had a great singalong. No Murphy party is ever complete without a few Irish tunes. At this point we had the kids out until 11pm again and we needed to get home since Sunday was another party.

Sunday morning started about the same as Saturday, party preparations. I made another baked ziti and we needed to start decorating and preparing for our guests. Jon's sister Mary and her son Charley arrived from Virginia around 9:30 (they left at 4:30am!!) and they were a wonderful help in preparing. Taryn arrived a few minutes later and also helped with the preparations. By around 11, I wanted to get the kids bathed and down for a nap so that we wouldn't have the same problem waking up as Saturday's party. Uh Oh, they had other things in mind. They did not want to nap. They were ready for the party. I guess we spent too much time getting them excited for their birthday. We put them down at 11:30. Aidan finally fell asleep around 1 and we took Amanda mom's room to try and get her to fall asleep. We finally had success around 1:30. I knew that would mean that they wouldn't be up by 3. Oh well! The guests started arriving and it was another wonderful day. We had so many friends and family that we hadn't seen in a long time. I had a hard time deciding where to spend my time. I was bouncing from conversation to conversation to try and visit with everyone. Before I knew it, it was 6:00 and people needed to head home. Crap! We hadn't even had cake or opened presents yet. We quickly brought the cakes out and fortunately we had time to enjoy that. The present opening waited until after we said goodbye to many of the guests that needed to travel home. We finished opening presents and were finally able to get the kids to bed at around 10. Another late night! Boy this birthday stuff is tough on those little systems!

They received so many wonderful gifts. These two kids don't have a clue how wonderful their lives are (or maybe they do! They are such happy kids). There are so many people that care about them. It makes us feel so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. They received a two sided kitchen/grill set from Grandma and Papa Oscar, food and cookware for the kitchen, a basket ball hoop set from Aunt Taryn, dress up costumes, books, waterguns, clothes, play-doh, a monster truck, badminton rackets, a "waterpiller" sprinker, bubble machines and so much more! In addition, Aunt Mary (Jon's sister) brought a bunch of Charley's old toys for them too! We needed to hide about 3/4 of the gifts so that they would not be too overwhelmed.
Yesterday (which was their actual birthday), while I was at work, they started the day with the race cars and trains, then moved to the play-doh, out to the kitchen set, back to the play-doh, out to the sprinkler, back to the books, over to the kitchen and back again! Aunt Taryn was exhausted when I came home from work. I ran around in the sprinkler with the kids and we had a blast. There was so much stimulation that we could see that it was starting to take a toll. We did one last birthday celebration so that we could officially end the birthday madness (and so that I could have an excuse to buy a Carvel ice cream cake). Putting them to bed was a task in itself!

That brings me back to the title of this post... Bye-bye Ba-Ba... Aidan and Amanda have always had pacifiers. When they started to talk, they renamed them "baba." We're not sure where the name comes from. I'm sure it has something to do with their bottles or something like that. They love their Ba-Bas. When they were about 18 months we transitioned to just using them at night and during naptime. Jon and I decided a while ago that we needed to get rid of the Ba-Bas entirely. It was decided that the birthday would be the time. We explained to them that big kids do not use Ba-Bas and we should give them to babies. Since they got lots of big kid presents for their birthday we used that as leverage. When we went to bed last night, they were very willing to give them up. I was shocked. They actually told us that they wanted to give them to baby Michael and baby Chloe. They said that they were big kids and the babies wanted them. I was so proud of my big kids! We sang our songs, tucked them in and closed the door for the night. Whew... We made it... Not so fast! They were not ready for bed. Too much excitement, too much sugar, not enough sleep. They were running on empty but they were bouncing off the walls. The birthday celebration was over but the kids had massive stimulation overload and they did not know how to settle down. We tucked them in numerous times and they kept popping up to play. Finally, at 10pm, Jon and I were going to bed (since we were EXHAUSTED from the weekend) and I noticed that the kids were still giggling! I decided to lay down with them to try and keep them quiet. It took a while but we settled down. I'm not sure how long I was there because I fell asleep in Aidan's bed! I woke up, both kids were asleep, so I headed back to my bed. Ahhh, it was finally over... Nope... Aidan woke up crying at 12:30. I went to calm him and he was so upset. I couldn't tell what was wrong. He begged for juice. I brought him a cup of water. He chugged it! Wow! He was thirsty. He seemed calm, I put him down and went back to bed. I must have only been asleep for a few minutes when I woke up to Aidan crying again. I went back to his room and layed with him again. This is very unusual for Aidan. I tried to calm him, it didn't work. He begged for juice again. It was now 1:30. I got him another cup of water. He chugged it again. This time he fell asleep! I left for work this morning with Amanda playing with grandma and Aidan was still out cold! Poor baby! Birthdays are hard work!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend...

Meekers! Enjoying ourselves for some fireworks.

Julie made 50 cupcakes! They were all devoured. Aidan and Amanda probably had 3 or 4 each!

Aidan and Amanda both received bubble blowers. Everyone enjoyed them!

Princess Amanda allows Daddy to adjust her crown :)

Aidan could not tear himself away from the book. He did not care that there were more presents to open.

Just because they share a birthday doesn't mean they need to share a cake!

This has got to be the coolest kitchen set ever!

Aidan was BBQ'ing while Amanda was heating up leftovers in the microwave!

Amanda enjoying her cupcake at Saturday's party

Aidan really liked his cupcake too!

Presents galore! Julie is on the right next to Liam. Aidan is hiding behind a pile of presents!

Amanda loves to cuddle with Kelly.

Aidan stopped playing hockey long enough to smile for a picture!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ready or not, here they come!

I can't believe that Aidan and Amanda are turning 3 on Monday. Where the heck did the years go? This has gone by so very quickly. I need to remind myself to enjoy every moment. It sounds so cliche but it is true.

Every day I look at Aidan and Amanda and I smile. They have such great personalities. My Aidan... He is a typical little boy in that he loves playing with everything. He loves to play ball or race his trucks around. Sometimes he likes to tackle his little sister and he doesn't seem to realize that she doesn't like it! If I hear "Mommy!!! Aidan hit me!!!" again, I"ll scream. Of course there is no avoiding that statement. Aidan hits. That is just who he is. He gets very excited and it comes out in a physical sense. He is also incredibly cute in his mannerisms. He loves to tilt his head to the side when he says things. It comes out in a very grown up way. He will sigh, tilt his head, put his hands up (as if to say "I don't know) and shrugs. Some of the comments include "I can't like dinner" or "no poops, just toots in my tummy." I wish I could describe it better because it is what makes Aidan a riot! He is my little man. I love him and want to squeeze him everytime he is in my sight. He loves being in the middle of any conversation and he absolutely worships his daddy and Papa Oscar. They were so cute this afternoon. Jon and Oscar were driving the lawnmower off of Oscar's trailer (he had taken it over to his mom's to mow her lawn) and Aidan stood there with his hands on his hips and watched the entire process with such excitement! He loves to make everyone laugh. He tries so hard. He has his dad's looks and sense of humor with my personality. Scary combination!

Amanda, my princess. She is my life size doll. She is the "snuggle-buggle" as we like to call her. She would rather climb up on someone's lap and cuddle than most any other activity. She, also, has an amazing personality. I don't know how we got so lucky! She loves to sit on a lap and have a very intelligent conversation! I haven't met anyone who hasn't been drawn in to Amanda's charms. She will cuddle with whoever is willing and she will talk your ear off. She has a smile that would melt your heart. I'm a little tired of hearing her whine "Aidan hit me" but I guess that is to be expected since Aidan is a bit rough with her at times. My baby Mandas is my little princess. She loves to have her hair put in "pretties" which is our term for any type of hair accessory. She is especially fond of pigtails. She loves when her Aunt Taryn does things with her hair . Just wait until Aunt Taryn decides to try braiding! I am horrible when it comes to hair design. I am not good at that at all! Amanda is not a "girly-girl" in the total sense of the term. She enjoys wearing a dress at times but she does not mind getting dirty. She loves to play with her brother and most of the time there is not apparent playtime gender differences between the two.

They are so excited about their birthday. Amanda keeps telling us that Aidan wants a Cars cake and that she wants a princess cake. This is the first time they have really shown an interest in a commercial character. I wish I could honor their request but it is just a bit too difficult. We're going for simplicity here since I'm the dumbass who decided it would be wonderful to have two huge parties for the kids. Yes, two parties.

Saturday is the party in Beacon with all the family. Liam is also having his birthday celebration so we decided to have a joint party. Liam turned two on Monday. This makes the situation a bit easier but it does have Julie and I trying to make plans without having a clue of how many people will show up. In typical Murphy fashion, Michael is spreading the word of the party and at the very least, the entire neighborhood will be there. I'm definitely looking forward to the day. It is the preparations that have me a bit batty. Julie and I are trying to split the responsibilities but I'm sure we're forgetting stuff. Julie is making 28 cupcakes so that we can spell out "Happy Birthday Liam Aidan Amanda." I have to go shopping tomorrow (yup, on the 4th) to get all the supplies for both of the parties. We're doing the typical BBQ fare with burgers, dogs, and baked ziti. We've discussed some side dishes as well as asking people to bring things. My fear is that we'll have a dozen jello molds and no hors d'oeuvres! LOL! In all seriousness, I think everything will go great, but ya know I have to stress.

Sunday is the party at my mom's house. This is (in my mind) the real birthday party. This party is just for Aidan and Amanda. Taryn and I have done the planning and we think we have everything covered. Taryn bought some decorations and supplies. We wanted to do a Mickey and Minnie theme but that is proving more difficult than I thought. The stores that I've looked at do not sell Mickey Mouse cake pans. Oh well. I'm sure they'll enjoy their party regardless of the cake. Taryn and I are going to try and make two different cakes and draw Mickey and Minnie on them. In any event, the kids will have cake! This party will be interesting. We're having a mix of people and most of them do not know each other. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and it will be nice if we get a beautiful, relaxing day.

I promise to post pictures after the party! Now, I just need to finalize my shopping lists and make sure we have everything covered.