The Unexpected Journey Begins

This a post (or rather a start to a series of posts), that I don’t know exactly how to begin. There is no clever, or cute way to revisit this journey — the journey we went through last year. My blog has traditionally been very personal, but never this personal.  Yet, I feel an intense need to share our story.  I want to share it for my daughter, so I’ll remember the important details that fade over time.  I want to share it to help others who may be facing the same challenges — the same journey.  I need to share, to share to as a way of healing.

Last year our daughter, at about 8 months old was diagnosed with Lambdoid Craniosynostosis.  I’m going to share our journey — right from the very start.

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3’s Company.

Baby Girl Harding

The Newest Harding

As we near the 2 month mark of switching from a comfortable booth for 4, to a table for our new family of 5, I’m pleased with how easy the integration of a Harding baby girl has been. Time has been rolling by, and perhaps it’s strange, (alright, I’m sure it’s strange) but every day since we’ve had our little one I reminisce about her birth.  I can’t help but think — I want to do it again.  Don’t get me wrong, 3 is the perfect number of babies for me, and my family feels wonderfully complete. I’m not looking to have another baby here, however, I want to relive the entire delivery day over again, exactly as it occurred. Throughout my pregnancy I was always trying to savor each moment, and I did the same with about 99% of my delivery.  I made a point to be present. The pain, the excitement, the surprises, and the tears. Now I’d like relive that moment in time again. If only the Delorean sat in my garage…

I don’t know if any of you experienced fear about introducing your children to each other for the first time, but with each sibling I have been concerned.  I always want the older siblings to immediately love the younger, yet know that my feelings for them haven’t changed. Quentin was in love with Kaden as soon as he laid eyes on him.  And though I was intimidated by the boys meeting Taryn for the first time, I realize now I had no reason to be.  They were smitten from the start.

The other day, as I sat rocking Taryn, Kaden looked on, sitting as close to me as he could with his eyes firmly planted on his baby sister. “You know, Taryn’s the cutest in our family,” he said without breaking his gaze. I felt a twinge in my gut, thinking perhaps he was feeling insecure due to all the of the hoopla surrounding the baby. “Oh no, you and your brother are both extremely cute!” I comforted back.  Kaden took a big step back and looked at my like I just said something asinine. Confused by his response, I continued, “You guys are my most handsome boys and…” Before I could finish my sentence Kaden put me in my place. “Taryn is the cutest mom!  She is, she is beautiful!” He was serious and his tone took me by surprise as he looked at me with something nearing disgust.  He couldn’t believe I would question his initial statement. It’s clear my worries were unfounded. He really felt that way about his sister. The fact he loves her so confidently fills my heart.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still things all of us are learning and working on.  And in 2 months, I’m sure I’ll want to relive the previous 2 months…But the fact that at the foundation of our learning and adapting is a deep and organic love, I have a new found confidence in our changing family dynamics.

Where Did 9 Months Go?

9 Months

9 Months

To say the last 9 months have been busy is an understatement.  From the lack of posts, I think it’s clear, not only were we busy, but time seemed to move at an oddly rapid pace.  It’s funny how the more pregnancies you have, the faster each one goes by.  Granted, you’re increasingly busy with each child, but now that it’s over, it seemed nearly unnatural.  Forgive me as I journey back over the past few months…. for there are moments I don’t want to forget. As I think back over my pregnancy, I feel so lucky to have had such a good experience overall.

I baked a baby girl for 9 months, and after all that work, she really did come out a girl. It literally took 3 ultrasounds to convince me with 99% certainty that the baby in my belly was a girl.  And when she finally arrived and I was hurdled over the threshold to 100% positivity, I was overwhelmed with joy.

We raced and camped and raced and camped.  George won the PRO series for his class, which meant many nights sleeping in a trailer and roughing it in the dirt. I’d be proud of that feat anytime, but especially walking the track with 2 little boys and a large belly.

We travelled to Vegas, and every morning I woke up feeling like a champ, volunteering to run for coffee and pastries in the gorgeous sun as others hid in their dark rooms. What’s even more important, I had an awesome time.  I was nervous beyond belief to “party” in Vegas at 7 months pregnant. The usual just wouldn’t do. But to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation, laying by the pool with a belly, and drinking fancy non-alcoholic cocktails.

Quentin played soccer and the boys both started wrestling. We began wrestling late in the season, since it overlapped with soccer. Boy was this a different, but fun experience.  Wrestling has always been one of my favorite sports to watch because it’s so intense.  Amplify that times 100 when it’s your child.  I’ve never been so proud, excited, and terrified in one moment as I was when they stepped out onto that mat for their first match. Both boys did wonderfully, and now, our living room is full of legit matches as opposed to the standard bum rush wrestling we had been used to.

We bought a new house (provided everything closes as expected)! It was a bit of a surprise, but the stars just aligned and everything fell into place.  If you know our real estate history, you know that’s kind of luck is a rarity for us.

This post turned more into a year review for the Harding’s, but it was important to me to try to get this down. Looking back, it’s been an eventful time in our lives, and now that our little one is here, we can’t wait for the new experiences coming our way.  More to come soon on her arrival.

“ohhhhh no!”

Baby Bean

Our Newest Addition.

We are pleased to announce the newest addition to the Harding family is set to arrive around January 15, 2014.  We are beyond excited… though some of us (really 1 of us) took a little longer to feel the joy than the rest.  

This little one was planned.  Though I must admit, I didn’t think I was pregnant right away.  The fact that I was, was indeed a bit of a welcomed surprise in itself.  Those of you who know me well understand that as much as I love a good surprise, the excitement of sharing them is often more than I can handle.

I found out first thing in the morning we were expecting. I wanted to tell George right away, but I preferred to deliver the news in person. I was like a little kid myself, bursting at the core to share my news. So, I did what any logical parent in my position would do… tell the barely 4 year old first.  Would anyone believe him if he shared the news, maybe…. but they would be skeptical.  It seemed like a flawless plan to me….

I woke him up, and as I pulled his sleepy body down from the top bunk, I whispered excitedly, “what if mommy has a baby in her tummy!? What would you think!?”

Kaden stared back at me with his sweet blue eyes.  You could see the wheels turning amidst the morning fog in his head.  Then, it hit him.  Like a ton of bricks.

“Ohhhhhh, noooooo!  WHY!?” he wined back. Not exactly the shared excitement I was hoping for.  I quickly lifted him off the bed and proceeded with our morning routine.  “Oh! Never mind, let’s just get dressed,” I continued and the news rolled right off his back like nothing happened. He was not quite ready for news like that, let alone first thing in the morning.

Now I can proudly say Kaden is extremely excited to be a big brother, at least in theory, as he imagines it to date. My quick need to share the news was met initially with pure disdain, but now, he’s softened to the idea.  

Kaden will always be the first to find out about baby number 3, and I’m sure, he’ll carry the award for the most interesting and memorable response, burned perfectly in my mind.

 

 

Pin-spiration.

My sweet loves.

My sweet loves.

I have had a Pin-spiration Revelation.

There are many ideas from Pinterest I have vowed to get crafty over, save money on, or promised to plant.  Most of them remain lofty goals on my virtual pin boards.  The ones I take the most action on, usually also provide a dent in my wallet, as opposed thifty solutions. However, today I saw a fun post that inspired me to take action, and not with money.  One mother asked her children simple everyday questions and recorded their answers.  A different type of time capsule, and very in line with the purpose of this blog.

Tonight, I sat down with my boys (Quentin 6, and Kaden 3) and recorded their responses to 21 simple questions.  Here’s a deeper look into my world, through they eyes of my sweet boys.

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?

Quentin: “I’m nice.”
Kaden: “Uh…. Poop, but I say that on accident.  Love me.”  [For the record, I don’t believe I ever say poop…but….]

 

2. What makes Mommy happy?

Quentin: Giving her a hug and a kiss.
Kaden: Nose kisses, kisses, and hugs.

 

3. What makes Mommy sad?

Quentin: When someone gets hurt.
Kaden: When someone is mean.

 

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?

Quentin: By playing jokes on me.
Kaden: When you give me candy you make me laugh.

 

5. What was Mommy like as a child?

Quentin: Uh… I don’t know. Where you playful?
Kaden: Be happy.

 

6. How old is Mommy?

Quentin: 30
Kaden: 5, wait 100!

 

7. How tall is Mommy?

Quentin: 30 inches, are you lower than that?
Kaden: 14!  Yeah, got it.

 

8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?

Quentin: Having a family day.
Kaden: Scratch your back.

 

9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?

Quentin: Goes to work.
Kaden: Go to work.

 

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?

Quentin: A great singer. [See George! I’m awesome.]
Kaden: Piggy back rides on your neck.

 

11. What is Mommy really good at?

Quentin: Cheering me on when I’m riding my dirt bike.
Kaden: Playing Spiderman.

 

12. What is Mommy not very good at?

Quentin: Riding a dirt bike. Or magic.
Kaden: Playing Tea Party.

 

13. What does Mommy do for her job?

Quentin: Helps people know how to work a computer.
Kaden: Going shopping. [hah!  I wish!]

 

14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?

Quentin: Pancakes. [Funny, since I am eating Paleo]
Kaden: Strawberries.

 

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?

Quentin: When she does something nice.
Kaden: I don’t know.

 

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Quentin: A BeyBlade one.
Kaden: Dora

 

17. What do you and Mommy do together?

Quentin: Cuddling on the couch.
Kaden: Go bye-bye with you.

 

18. How are you and Mommy the same?

Quentin: We both have green eyes.
Kaden: Uh… penguin heads.  [hmmmmm…]

 

19. How are you and Mommy different?

Quentin: You’re bigger than me.  Your 30.
Kaden: We match.

 

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?

Quentin: Cause she gives us kisses before bed.
Kaden: 100! [he throws his arms out wide and smiles]

 

21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?

Quentin: To Target!
Kaden: To the zoo

I must say, I learned more about myself than I expected!  If you have kids, and can keep their attention for 21 questions, I recommend you give this a try.  I can only imagine how the answers will change over time.

Like Bobbies.

Motocross Babies.

My Motocross Babies.

For the longest time Kaden has referred to his big brother as Bobbies.  When he first started to call Quentin Bobbies, because he couldn’t say brother, my husband and I would try to help him say the word properly.  My sweet, stubborn son would have none of it.  “Bobbies!” he would shout back.  So…. needless to say, Bobbies is a nickname that has had some serious staying power.  Quentin doesn’t usually let anyone call him Bobbies except for his baby brother.  Kaden is now 3, and fully capable of pronouncing his brothers name, but Bobbies still sticks.  I love it.

As I was cooking dinner this evening, I heard Quentin and Kaden up to something mischievous.  Parents, you know what I’m talking about.  Sometimes you just know. For Christmas both boys received new dirt bike gear.   “Mom!” Kaden yelled from the bedroom.  “I want like Bobbies.  LIKE Bobbies!”

The boys had drug out all of gear and were suiting up, race ready. When I say race ready, I mean pants, jersey, gloves, goggles…. and Kaden was in need of assistance with his helmet to be “like Bobbies.”  Such brotherly love.  It’s clear Kaden admires his older brother, and together the two are such an unstoppable team.  Of course I helped Kaden gear up the rest of the way “like Bobbies.”  The boys sneak back to their room and imagine, with fierce and admirable intensity, they are racing the most important race of their lives.

Just another random Thursday night at our house, where we are geared up and geeked up for dirt bikes, while imaginations run wild.  I hope my babies never lose the ability to dream in color.

Expect the Unexpected

Kaden the Sneak.

Kaden the Sneak.

Recently, I started going to hot yoga again.

I love the warmth, and cleanse, the hard work, and of course the sweat… And sweat you do in a room of 105 degrees.  The class I have been attending takes place in the evenings, so usually my sweet boys (all three, including my husband) are asleep when I get home.  One night, not so long ago, the house was an unfamiliar silent as I walked in the door after class.  I checked on my sweet family and they were all fast asleep, cuddled together in my bed.  I kissed each one and headed in to take a quick shower, still nearly drenched from class.  As I showered I cleared my head and tried to silence my usual busy mind.

Refreshed, I dried off and ever so quietly turned the bathroom door gently and slowly so as not to wake my sleeping loves.  I squinted my eyes, trying to focus in the dark room and pulled the door back towards me when….

“ROARRRRR!”

Kaden, whom was sleeping angelically prior to my shower, was standing directly at my feet.  He spastically jetted his arms up at me, fingers wide, the smile on his face even wider.

He scared me to death.  It was one of those scared kind of moments where afterwards, when you calm and realize there was nothing to be afraid of, you get instantly mad.  Needless to say he was very proud of himself, and my relaxed state of mind was no where to be found.

Now, of course, I think it’s hilarious.  Just a reminder, expect the unexpected with your babies.  You never know what mischievous plots they are strategizing in the dark….

I Yam.

Recently Kaden has started to respond to nearly all of my motherly requests with the following matter of fact statement:

I Yam.

“I Yam.”

Naturally, he means, I am.  He says it fast and with authority.  He usually fires at me, “I yam, Mom, I yam.”  Mind you, he usually is not doing what I have asked of him.  The other evening we were cuddling on the couch, way past a suitable bed time for a 3 year old.  “Kaden, you need to close your eyes,” I whisper at him, as I loving stroke his forehead of blonde hair.  Without missing a beat he retorted, “I yam, Mom,” his eyes never leaving the television screen.  I smile to myself, chuckling inside at the inflection in his voice.  A couple more minutes pass.  “Kade, you need to close your eyes,”  I push, more firm this time.  “I yam mom.”  I quickly inform him, “your eyes are wide open.”  He thinks for minute, looks up at me with his big blue eyes and says, “you’re not closing your eyes.”  True.  Very true.

“Kaden, that’s because I am the Mom,” I say, thinking I’ve outwitted him with a simple answer.  “I yam a Mom too,” he responds, so matter of fact like that I am taken aback.  He continues to stare at the TV.  I can’t help but admire his quick thinking.  If being a mom means you don’t have to follow the rules, it was worth a shot to try to pretend to be one.  “Nooo…my son, I am THE Mom,” I coo back.  Thankfully, he’s satisfied with that answer.

After one more time coaxing him, he relinquishes to my requests, snuggles into me, closes his eyes, and falls to sleep.  Special exchanges like this remind me how lucky I am to get to experience this special bond with my children.

I yam lucky.

 

Where Does the Time Go?

Cherish each moment.Such a cliché question.You’d think after asking this question year after year, by many a different person, we would figure it out. And yet, it still remains a mystery. At least to me it does.  Quentin is getting ready to start Kindergarten in the fall. How did he get this big? When did it happen? I feel like I am stuck in some strange time continuum.  As I recognize Quentin is more than ready for his new adventure, I also recognize I am more worried that I am the one not ready. As the control freak I know I am, it also tears at my heart-strings knowing whether I want Kindergarten to come or not, it’s not up to me to control.  It’s coming for me regardless.

Just a bit ago Kaden, my baby, turned 3.  I sometimes wonder if he really is the only 3-year-old (a big 3-year-old mind you) who gets carted around often by his mothers choice because he is my “baby.”  He’s a pretty big baby.  He wears big boy “underwears,” is potty trained, can drop in by himself and ride the entire track at a BMX park on a strider, and yet,  I feel the need to cart him around occasionally just because.

These emotions feel so intensely personal, even though I know many other parents have walked in my shoes before.  Cherish each second.  Each hug.  Each kiss.  Each scrape and bruise.  Breathe it.  Roll in it.  Dance in it.  Sit silently with it.

Babies grow up.

Though this post is less about remembering a particular moment, it certainly speaks to my current emotions. A little self reminder to bask in every single moment.

Let’s live in the present, because it escapes us quicker than we even realize.

Mom…. You are like a Ninja.

It was a morning like any other normal morning in our house.  I was running around trying simultaneously to get dressed (and to match my clothes none the less. I’ve been known to leave the house in at least one, accidental, outlandish item that I must rock with confidence for the rest of the day, full on knowing it was a fashion blunder due to my inattention in the mornings….), finish my hair, dress the boys, make some lunches, change the cartoon channel at least once, and feed the dog —  at the same time.  As I finally plopped down on the couch to pull on “my” socks, Quentin looked at me sideways.

“Mooooom,” he calmly asked.  “Are those Daddy’s socks?”  When I want to wear boots, I’ll often steal my husbands tall, grey argyle socks.  I love them.  It drives him crazy that I wear them, but I do it anyways.  “Yes,” I said as I continued to pull them on.  “Does he know you are wearing them?” he pressed.  “Nope,” I responded with a smile. He squinted his eyes slightly and smile danced across his face.  He raised his little eyebrows, “You are like a ninja” he whispered.  With that he turned and walked away, but not with one final parting comment.  With his back turned he said “You are verrrry sneaky.”

I laughed out loud.  I was stunned and somewhat proud at the same time.  To be called a ninja is a very high compliment in my mind, especially coming from a 5 year old boy.  How sweet and innocent.  He compares my stealthy sock stealing with the qualities of a ninja.  Oh the innocence of a young creative mind….