Pre-Op Pain

The days leading up to surgery were such a blur. I committed myself to helping with family gatherings in an effort to turn my attention away from my fears. But let’s be honest here, no matter how I tried, those fears haunted me daily. Remember, our pre-op (which was an all day event) was moved to the day directly before surgery. Initially, I wanted to come home after the pre-op. I wanted to spend the night before surgery in the comfort of our own house, as a family, all together. I desperately wanted to cloak myself in the last minute, unchanged normalcy of happiness with my children. However, instead, we agreed to reserve a hotel in Seattle near the hospital, relieving ourselves from the potential struggle of the morning commute and uncertainties surrounding it (surgery check in was 6:45 am). Continue reading


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.


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….


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.

Hold you. Hold you.

I like to imagine all parents do this, but perhaps I am just rationalizing my crazy ways….

Hold you, hold you!When one of my kids creates a common saying,  it becomes common to the family, regardless if it is proper English or if it makes sense.  Sometimes I even incorporate it into my everyday interactions with other people.  It becomes a part of my regular vocabulary.  Although encouraging these special sayings is not necessarily teaching my boys the “correct” way, I selfishly continue to encourage “their” way because it fills my heart with joy.  For example — Quentin used to commonly use the word “my” instead of “I.”  He would confidently state, “MY do it!”  I loved it.  It was used throughout our house day in, and day out.

This one I will always cherish — Kaden can’t say the word brother, so he refers to Quentin as “Boppies or Bobbies.”  The entire family now calls Quentin by the same name at times, although I know Quentin really only likes it when Kaden refers to him by that name.  He has even stated “Mom, I will sure miss it when Kaden doesn’t call me Boppies anymore.”  I secretly hope he will always refer to him in that manner (at least within the home).

And finally, Kaden recently started saying “Hold you. Hold you!” with his arms outstretched, smile gleaming across his face.  I’m certain this comes from my asking him “Do you want me to hold you?”  Or, “Can I hold you?”  I love this.  In a way, I guess he really is holding me too as I scoop him up and hold him so tight.  So, I encourage this behavior, and I’ll continue to encourage him to say it as long as I can.  “Hold you, hold you!”  I say throughout the day as I repeat his actions back to him.

These are the things I want to freeze in my memory, and never let go.  These are the moments I know I’ll miss one day.  For now, I am hoarding them, collecting them with all my might, and storing them deep within my soul.

May I never forget.

I’m Dancin’ Mom!

Quentin, my dancing prince.

The Move Master.

When we were in California we went out to dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.  If you have never been there, it’s a fun place to go, and the atmosphere is kid friendly.  Loud music, crab cracking bibs, and the servers dance every once and awhile.  As we were cracking some crab legs I looked over at Quentin and realized he looked like he was doing the classic “potty dance” with his left hand strategically placed over his boyhood.  “Quentin, do you have to go to bathroom?” I asked.  He looked back at me with intention, and said “No.” 

“Are you sure, Quentin?” I pressed, not convinced by his initial remark.  “I’m sure mom, I don’t have to go!” he said with frusuration in his voice. 

“Then why are you grabbing yourself?!” I countered.  He dropped both of his little arms to the side of his skinny body, cocked his head to the side and said “I’m dancing like Michael Jackson!”  Sure enough when I took a moment to really take in my surroundings I recognized the all to familiar “Thriller”  blasting throughout the restaurant.  Oh geez!  This is definitley not the kind of dance moves we are looking to promote, but you can’t deny MJ was the master of dance. The things our children pick up on, and so young.  My little Michael Jackson extraordinaire.  He get’s it from his momma!  Errrr… actually I can’t take all the credit, only 90%.  George can get down too.

Adventures in Palm Springs

We were recently lucky enough to travel to Palm Springs, CA for week, with a stop at Disneyland for a couple of days. It was such a treat and definitely an experience we all will never forget.  Grandma played a huge part in making our magical trip happen, so I want to throw a quick “thank you” shout out to her!  The trip overall was fabulous, but it certainly had its fair share of “moments.”  Such a string of events was comical when it happened (because we had no other choice but to laugh and go on), but now looking back reminiscing I laugh even more, so I thought I would share.

  1. The night before we were getting ready to leave Quentin woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible earache.  Not good for flying.  Thankfully we were able to rush him to urgent care and get him on antibiotics.  Crisis averted. 
  2. Did I ever mention I was terrified to take Kaden on plane.  Quentin had flown before, and I was confident he would make it through, but Kaden…. He can’t barely make it through a shopping trip without asserting himself wildly in front of a crowd.  Luckily he did really well – mostly.  He fought sleep most of the way, finally succumbed to his dreams 15 minutes before landing, and promptly woke up when we touched down.  He was disoriented, tired, and wanted off the plane, immediately.  Thank you to all of the polite people around us who put up with a screaming child while everyone disembarked from the plane.  Crisis averted.
  3. The condo we stayed at was gated.  You needed a little remote to get in.  Some how we kept misplacing that little remote…  over, and over, and over again.
  4. We were planning on driving to Disneyland on Tuesday morning.  Kaden kept waking up with goopy eyes…. It started with just one, and then…. Sure enough it was in both.  Poor baby would wake up with his eyes stuck shut and reach for me whispering “eyes, eyes momma.”  We knew we had to take him to urgent care.  First we ended up at a Geriatric Dr.’s office, needless to say our directions had lead us astray.  When we finally ended up at the clinic Kaden was diagnosed with Pink Eye in both eyes.  Crisis….
  5. As I waited to pick up Kaden’s prescriptive eye drops (we had to fight 3 times a day to put in for 5 days!) I witnessed a crazy, old man accost the poor pharmacist like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  Yelling racial slurs, cussing up a storm…. You know, exactly what you’d expect to see on a calm Monday morning.  They didn’t have the eye drops at this pharmacy.  Thank goodness one down the road had them…..Crisis averted.
  6. Remote to get into the condo was lost, and found.  Crisis averted.
  7. Tuesday morning we were getting ready to leave and my mom’s dog Puck needed to be taken into an emergency veterinarian clinic.  They called in a prescription for him which was filled with less chaos than Kaden’s.  Crisis averted and we were on our way!
  9. We drove back after 2 wonderful nights… do you think we could find the remote to get into the condo?  Nope.  We finally found it later, after some clever work to gain entry into the condo.  Crisis averted … eventually. 
  10. On our final evening we went out to dinner at an awesome BBQ restaurant.  We all know Quentin enjoys dinosaur bones (ribs) so we ordered him a plate full.  He just stared at it, and said he wasn’t hungry.  At first I thought he was fibbing… I followed up with the curt – “if you don’t eat your dinner, you’ll get no dessert.”  It didn’t work. He finally told us his tummy hurt.  I took him to the bathroom to see if that would help.  It didn’t.  We sat around and chatted while the rest of us ate when suddenly a wave of motherly instinct crashed over me, and I just knew what was about to happen.  I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth quick enough.. “Do you have to throw up?” He said “YES!” and proceeded to throw up all over the floor of the restaurant – a couple times.  George scooped him up and took him to the bathroom.  Poor guy.  Needless to say our night was over.  No one else got sick though, and after only a couple more puking episodes that evening Quentin was fine for our flight home.  Crisis averted.

The End.  That’s the summary of the surprising events that will also ensure we remember our first full on family vacation with the boys.  Granted I’ve left out all of the fun we had in leiu of these funny happenstances.  Believe me, we had our fair share of fun too!  Never a dull moment, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.