Life in Photos

Plus, we’re participating in the March of Dimes walk again this year.

We started our own team.

I have promised the participants t-shirts.

I am super stressing over that. Because you know, it’s not like I don’t have other, more important, things in my life to stress about.


First day of preschool. I realize this photo is in the post below, but what you can’t tell is that both Julia’s lower legs were in casts to help turn her feet out so we could get her fitted for new braces.


The 4th birthday party. It was Strawberry Shortcake themed, hence the personalized shirts that cost me $20 a piece and were stained within an hour of the party. Gabrielle is a huge Strawberry Shortcake fan, Julia doesn’t really give a shit. This was also the debut of Julia’s borrowed wheels, which we’ve had since Christmas. We’re working on getting her own, and it can’t come soon enough. The loaner is set on demo mode, so the speed is sllllllloooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww. Think of walking as slowly as you possibly can without actually stopping, and that chair is slower.


The cupcake spread – raspberry, strawberry shortcake and lemon meringue. I wish my sister had taken photos of the food setup – the food was all themed after the characters, and each dish had it’s own individual card with matching character. Stupid me though bought them each separate number 4 candles and left them at home.


The Strawberry Shortcake pinata. Gabrielle just hung the Strawberry picture in Julia’s room this morning. It had spent a month on her wall, until one night she inexplicably decided (at like 2 in the morning) that it could no longer be in her room. Then it was hanging on the stairs.


Watching the Iditarod. I swear Julia was having fun.


Julia playing soccer. They have a gigantic (it reaches the top of that joystick) inflatable ball that she plays with, which all the other kids want. This was supposed to be just her activity, but she cried the first day so now Gabrielle goes out with her.

Soccer 021

Cruising around at an indoor sports stadium that lets you bring bikes. So Gabrielle finally got to ride her birthday bike somewhere other than up and down the hallway.


A Conversation with Two Three-Year Olds

ImageThe other day the girls and I went out. We pulled in to the parking space, and I was unbuckling them from the car, Gabrielle looked out the front window at the car parked across from us and saw a man buckling his daughter in to her car seat.

“That car has a kid in it!” she said,

“Yeah, so what?” I said. “This car has two kids in it.”

And then, for some unexplainable reason, I added, “It’s supposed to have three kids in it, but whatever.”

“There’s not three because Caitlin’s in heaven?” Gabrielle said.

“That’s right,” I said, unbuckling Julia. “Caitlin’s in heaven.”

“And she can’t be with us because heaven can’t come here?” she said.

“That’s right,” I said, reaching over Julia to unbuckle Gabrielle. “Heaven can’t come here.”

Then Julia looked at me. Julia doesn’t talk about Caitlin. To be honest, neither of them really do, unless one of us brings it up – David when he shows them the necklace of Caitlin’s feet, or me when I try to explain to them that they are triplets, or when we’re working on letters and I tell them “C is for Caitlin.” But the only thing that Julia usually says are answers in response to my prompts – that Caitlin was in my tummy with them, and that she is in heaven.

But then Julia looked at me, and asked, “Is Caitlin sad in heaven?”

“I don’t know,” I said (and here is where a normal person would have started crying). “I don’t think she is.”

“Are you sad she’s in heaven mommy?” Gabrielle asked.

“Yes, I am,” I said.

“Why?” Gabrielle asked.

“I’m sad because I want her to be here with us,” I said.

“You don’t have to be sad mommy,” Gabrielle said, shaking her head and smiling. “She’s going to come visit us, so you don’t have to be sad.”

What’s Going On, Or, Things I Haven’t Posted on Facebook

* I actually wanted to post a cliche Facebook status the other day:

“There’s a chance something good could come our way that would really make a difference in our lives right now. I can’t talk about it, but would appreciate prayers/good thoughts/good vibes being sent our way.”

Is posting that you want to post a cliche update the same as posting it? I didn’t, because I’m not cliche like that.

but I did submit a grant proposal to the court system. It’s a $30K contract to write all of the content for a new probate self-help site they want to publish on their webpage. Hopefully, what I lack in experience (only five years doing probate), I’ll make up for in my kick-ass writing sample. I actually can go either way – David randomly found it on Wednesday, and it was due Monday. Doing it was a pain, because did you know that three-year-olds don’t like to leave you alone? I had no idea. David was beat Sunday night, because he spent a good portion of Sunday keeping them out of my hair (and even then they kept harassing me).

But obviously it would be nice to have that extra $30K. We re-financed our mortgage in December, changing from a 30-year to a 15, which added about $400 a month to our payment. Looking at the long-term, what we’ll save in interest will send one of the girls to college. But I don’t like dipping in to savings, so it’d be nice to pay some of that back.

* Last Thursday we were at an appointment for Julia with an orthotist, trying to figure out how to effing fix her feet. Because her custom-made shoes don’t stay on her feet, so that was a $950 waste of time and money. The office had a huge stuffed horse to ride on. It was huge in width, not height. At it’s highest, I think it barely reached Gabrielle’s knees.

Somehow – I assume not expecting to have to step so wide to dismount – Gabrielle fell. I didn’t see her fall, just heard the “boom” of her head hitting, and then her crying. She was crying for a few minutes, and I was rubbing her head, the way you do when you’re trying to make them think it will actually make them feel better. When she stopped crying I pulled my hand away and saw blood. After peeling back the layers and layers of curls, I found a gash in her head, about 1″ long and 1/3″ wide. She must have hit her head on the corner of the baseboards or the mirror, because I can’t imagine a fall from her height would cause a gash like that. Otherwise, she’d be getting them once a week. Her hair was matted with blood, but the cut itself wasn’t bleeding all that much anymore.

I am pretty sure I totally freaked out the orthotist and Julia’s therapist (who attended the meeting), by not immediately jumping and taking Gabrielle to the ER. I’d like to to think the fact that I did not freak out and we just continued on with our meeting about Julia had a lot to do with the fact that Gabrielle was back to running around after she calmed down from the head bump.

She’s got two staples in her head right now that come out Thursday. And as I read people posting about their kids’ ailments and how amazing and strong and blah blah blah they are, I thought, “Wow. I’m a bitch.”

* The girls and I leave for California on Saturday. We’re enrolling Julia in a new intensive camp based on Russian cosmonaut suits. Or, as I like to call it, “more mumbo-jumbo voodoo”. It is $7,200. But because of our income, we get a $1500 discount. Not sure if insurance will cover it. And they are making us pay up front. They won’t even bill our insurance for us, I have to seek reimbursement. I totally get they want to make sure they’re paid. But come on – I am taking my daughter to a $7K therapy camp. Does somebody who is doing this really have time to be writing letters to insurance companies? They can’t do it as a courtesy?

Oh, I guess I can be doing that instead of this.

Anyway, we are going. It’s in Sacramento, which is about an hour from my parents’ house. David’s going to meet us halfway through the trip. I am anticipating the flight there to be an awful nightmare. So it will either be what I expected, or I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I read an article last week that Alaska Airlines kicked off a dad and his three-year-old son because the son wouldn’t keep his seat belt on. So I have been talking to them about how we have to keep on our seat belts, and if they don’t they won’t get apple juice and pretzels and Gabrielle won’t be able to watch Strawberry Shortcake on her little tv.

So now it is one million questions from Gabrielle. Tonight, after I put her to bed, she opened up her door and yelled down to me:

“Mommy? Does the airplane have a driver?”

“Yes, it has a driver.”

“So he can drive us on the airplane?”

Um, I guess “driver” isn’t self-explanatory to a three-year-old.


Conversation with a 3-year-old

On Thursday the girls and I were in the other room. That being, the room that is not the play room or kitchen or dining room or hallway. Technically that makes it what, the living room? Except that would imply we do some living in it, and the fact that I just coined it “the other room” tends to show that we don’t. The girls have been calling it “Papa’s room” since January, when David’s father visited, because he slept in there. It could also be called the workout room, since it’s where the weights and treadmill are. But since David hauls the weights into the den to watch tv when he works out, and I don’t use the treadmill enough to call what I do “working out”, well, I guess the other room will do.

The girls and I were in the whatever-you-want-to-call-it room, looking at the photos sitting on the fireplace mantel before I started strapping Julia in to her stander. Gabrielle pointed to something behind me and said, “That’s Caitlin’s.”

I turned to see her Christmas stocking – the small red velvet stocking with a white fur trim, embroidered with a white “A” (because it was a gift from my mom when I was pregnant, and Caitlin was known only as Baby A to everybody else at the time) – dangling from the mantel.

“Yes,” I said, turning back around to continue buckling Julia in. “That’s Caitlin’s stocking. I just haven’t put it away yet.”

“You need to put it in your closet?” she said. “Like mine and sister’s are in our closets?”

“Yes,” I said.

“You have to leave it there,” Gabrielle said. “So she can come get it.”

I looked at, mid-buckle.

“I’m pretty sure she’s not going to come back and get her stocking,” I said.

“Why?” she said.

“Because she’s in heaven, and you can’t come down and get things.”

The Big 3

“Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste.” – Adele

Isn’t it annoying how you can be listening to a song that has absolutely no correlation to your life.¬†But then you hear that one line that resonates.

And after that, every time the song comes on the radio, you wait for that single line. And sing along, that one moment where your feelings have been perfectly summed up by somebody else.

That’s how I feel about the girls’ birthday. Bittersweet.

There’s really no way around it. For all the happiness I take in Julia and Gabrielle turning three – in wondering how they could already be three, when I can’t even begin to think of three years’ worth of stuff that we’ve done to mark all that time – death is right smack in the middle of it.

Literally, right smack in the middle.

Julia, born at 9:39.

Gabrielle, born at 9:49.

Caitlin, born dead at 9:43.

I don’t even get the happy birth story.

That sucks. And I still think it sucks supremely for them, that there’s always going to be at least 1% sadness on their birthday.


We are loaded up on presents, more than are necessary for two three-year-olds who were already loaded up with presents at Christmas. Their party is Sunday afternoon, and I am, again, going overboard – three different cupcakes (Caitlin gets hers, even if nobody knows it but me), ice cream sandwiches, mini-muffin corn dogs and mini deep-dish pizzas, hot artichoke dip and fruit salad. I haven’t started anything. But at least I gave up on the idea of decorating the cupcakes beyond icing.

I have birthday food coupons up the wazoo – we used their free Burger King kids meal coupons last Saturday for lunch, and IHOP gift certificates for breakfast last Sunday. I have coupons for Auntie Anne’s (pretzel dogs for lunch, yay!), Marble Slab Creamery and free ice cream cones.

The girls know it’s their birthday. Julia will tell you it’s February 17th, if you ask. Last week, Gabrielle invited Julia to her party. If you ask them how old they’re going to be, they hold up three fingers (Julia tries, she can’t quite get it yet) and say two. This afternoon Gabrielle handed Julia a book and said, “Here sister, this is for your birthday!”

“This is for me?” Julia said. “Thank you!”

“Don’t be too thankful,” I told her. “She got that for Christmas last year. She just regifted.”

“Yah,” Gabrielle said, nodding. “I regifted.”

Three years down, only 15 more to go until I get some sleep.