Sunday, September 30, 2012

september in an instant

Ah, September. One of my favorites. A school-starting, leaves-changing, cardigan-sporting, boot-wearing, crisp-airing kind of month. You were good to us. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

fall formal

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Tuck has events going on Wednesday through Friday of every week. Every week. I'm also not exaggerating when I say that I went to maybe five of them last year. Maybe

Most I was fine to miss out on just because my priority is definitely my two littles, but there were a few I was sad to miss - mostly the formals. Last year, we decided to not go to fall formal and then I didn't really have a great dress that I could wear for winter/spring because of my growing midsection and I just felt blah anyway. Sooooo...this year, I was determined to make it to more events. And the first on the list was fall formal. 
A few of us got together beforehand to do hair and makeup together. Always a good idea. 

We headed to dinner with a few of our closest couple friends and then we bussed it up to the formal. 

Don't worry that it rained all day and the dance floor was under a tent outside down a really long dirt {er, mud} hill. So we decided to wear our fancy dresses with rainboots. Best fashion decision I've ever made and so much more comfy than heels. 

 We had a really fun night dancing {and singing and jumping} our hearts out. Even the husbands showed us a move or two. That Ryan can groove. It was so fun to get all gussied up with the girls and go for a night out on the town with my main squeeze. We'll definitely be doing it again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

taking out the trash

As I as looking through all my pictures from the summer, I had to chuckle when I came across this one. 

Honestly, this picture perfectly depicts what I thought was the hardest part of my summer, logistically, which is why I took a picture of it. With two small girls who couldn't be left alone and a trash receptacle a five minute walk away, taking the trash out was seriously something I had to plan! I usually strapped Kate in the Bjorn and buckled Leah in the stroller, put the trash in the back seat and off we went. Sometimes I planned ahead and could take the trash to the dumpster when Leah was at school. Sometimes I could do it when one of them was napping {gasp!}. 

I had to take it often enough that the fruit flies didn't congregate {so gross, and yet unavoidable, really}, but not so often that I was spending 10% of all my days walking to the dumpster. 

I got to the point where I didn't really think about it much, but "take the trash out" was truly on my to-do list as something I had to schedule into my day because it took a good 15-20 minutes minimum. 

Since Ryan has been home, we've both taken turns walking the trash to the community bin, but each time I do it {by myself, in about 5 minutes}, I just smile.

that's what a New Hampshire summer is made of

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and the smells of apples and pumpkin are wafting through the air. There is no question it is fall. With the change of seasons, comes a reflection on my summer – my first and last in New Hampshire. And boy was it one to remember. Though I wish we could have gallivanted across the globe with Ryan, my summer here in the Upper Valley was one I hope to never forget.  

It’s roadside foliage bursting with green.
Sunsets in colors I have never in my life seen.
It’s heat and humidity not experienced before.
Huge drops of sweat coming out of every pore.

It’s canoeing the Connecticut on a warm, calm day.
Climbing down and around the Quechee Gorge to play.
It’s various parks with friends every week.
And ice cream and popsicles smeared across our cheeks.

It’s rain showers that pour down without any warning.
And sleeping in on days there’s no summer school in the morning.
It’s heading to the local theater for a Friday movie matinee.
And impromptu block sprinkler parties each day.

It’s North Hartland Lake to go sunbathe and splash.
Paying for buckets of blueberries with a pocketful of cash.
It’s delayed fireworks and the Fourth spent with neighbors and friends.
Flowers growing wild on the side of the road without end.

It’s two giggly girls on the grass at the town green.
BBQs and potlucks, licking our plates clean.
It’s the fresh bakery smells of King Arthur Flour.
Just soaking it all in on my front porch, every hour.

It’s sandals and flip flops and running free every day.
It’s swimsuits and sunscreen so in the sun we can play.
It’s so, so much more that I will always love.
That’s what a New Hampshire summer is made of. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ktg: 4 months

What a month! I feel like my Katers is no longer an infant, but a roly poly baby in all her squishy goodness. 

We planned to have Kate cry it out and start the process of really sleeping through the night beginning the day she turned four months old. But about a week ago, she thought it would be hilarious to wake up all. night. long. 

So, she cried it out the next night. 
And guess what!? It worked. I no longer get up to feed her. She still will sometimes wake up, but just needs her binky or a blanket adjustment and she's good to go. We'll work on that this coming month. She still eats 4-5 times a day and will probably be ready for solids by 5 months I'm guessing.

She continued to get better at rolling from her tummy to her back. She is grasping toys with individual hands (not both hands together yet) and is altogether more alert than ever. She takes an awesome morning nap - usually 3-4 hours and is unpredictable as far as naps go for the remainder of the day. 

She killed it at her four month checkup. Everything is looking fabulous. She is getting more and more interested at the chubby figure in the mirror (not me, her!) every day and had a blast playing peek a boo in the pediatrician's mirror while she unknowingly waited for her vaccinations. She hated them, of course, but quickly forgave the mean nurse after I scooped her up. 


Weight: 14 lbs. 1 oz.
Length: 25.5 inches
Head: 42 cm
No. of diapers used: 124, give or take
Diaper size: 2
Clothing size: 3-6 months 
Longest stretch of sleep: 10 hours 10 minutes, but who's counting!?
NEW Nicknames: Kater potater, Katerpillar, Kate J Potamus

Monday, September 10, 2012

LAST first day of school

Today was Ryan's last first day of school. 


Or, at least, it better be. I told him I'm getting a second degree before he gets another. And when I reminded him it was his last first, he did this:
So I'm pretty sure it's his last.

He was definitely ready for school to start after a summer away, criss-crossing the globe. His hair is cut, his binders are purchased and his hockey skates are laced. We've been getting his course books in the mail for a few days now. Thrilling titles like "Optimization Modeling With Spreadsheets" and "The Heart and Mind of the Negotiator" will grace our kitchen table all semester. Lucky Ryan. 

Tuck has been good to us. It's already gone even faster than everyone said it would and we're both trying to soak in everything we can as we come up on our final ten months in the Upper Valley. Although we're both looking forward to a paycheck in the near future, this experience is something we would never change. 

Knock 'em dead, Mr. Layton. {I'm calling him Mr. for as long as I can - in ten months I know he'll insist I call him Master.}

p.s. When I asked him if he would answer some questions for me, he replied, "Yes, no, a, d, 7, 32." It's a good thing they don't give out letter grades in MBA school.

Friday, September 7, 2012



It's kind of strange, I have to admit. 

Leah's been in school for the last three and a half years. We're no strangers to school. But kindgergarten is legit. No more writing "pre" in front of anything. Leah has arrived, my friends. 

I have mixed feelings about it, as one can expect of any parent whose oldest child is heading off to school, especially a parent who is as emotionally unstable as me. Kindergarten is something I anticipated since before Leah was even born. Something I dreamed about when I first held her tiny body in my arms. The way kindergarten has unfolded is drastically different than those anticipations and dreams. I never envisioned therapies or one-on-one aides. Communication devices were most definitely not in my dreams. And yet, here we are. Although it's not as first planned, I'm glad it's happening. And I'm glad she's in a school, mainstreamed, with teachers who sincerely believe in her, hope the best for her and are willing to work right by her side to achieve that best.
Although my feelings were all over the place this morning, I did keep my cool. I even got a "Hey! Way to hold it together!" from Ryan. {He must not have seen me tear up after I kissed her goodbye.} So I consider my behavior as we dropped her off and walked away a success. He obviously didn't have high expectations of me {rightly so}, but I blew whatever expectations he did have right out of the water.

Maybe it's because she's had a first day of school four times now. Maybe it's because I know she loves being there. Maybe it's because I might be a little excited about having some respite. Maybe it's because I truly believe in her and know she has so much untapped potential. I think it's a little bit of all of the above.

No matter how you look at it, we have a kindergartener on our hands. Watch. Out. World. 

tuck partner bowling take 2

Round two of Tuck Partner Bowling night. We're classy up here in New England at the Upper Valley Lanes and Games. Great night meeting and mingling with a whole new class of partners. It's gonna be a good year. I can feel it. 

Good thing the success of the year isn't dependent upon my bowling score. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

what's on my mind?

Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, as I was nursing my littlest girl, I happened to scroll through some status updates on Facebook. Updates from friends from all walks of life. It was then that I learned that another sweet girl had lost her earthly battle to Rett syndrome. 

I didn't know Anna personally, nor did I know her parents. But, I had most definitely heard of them and have many friends who do know them personally. Anna's father, Manny, is also a camera man for the TV show, The View, and Anna and her parents were featured on the show last January.

A shortened lifespan is kind of part of the Rett syndrome package - every few weeks I get word of another brave girl who has passed on. And while I'm well aware of that fact, I still push it to the back of my mind. I try not to focus on it, but rather on my day to day with Miss Leah. But this one got to me.

Anna was only four. 

I can't even imagine not having had the last year and a half of cuddles and giggles and struggles and smiles and tantrums and triumphs with Leah. And I don't want to have to imagine it in the future. 

It's been a trying year for us with the addition of seizures to Leah's bag of tricks. Watching one more thing take control of my daughter's body and then watching medication try to mask those symptoms leaving her with a handful of other side effects has not been the easiest drink to swallow. And yet most of the time, she barrels right through her day with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eyes. Her courage and confidence never cease to amaze me. She's got it figured out much more than I do. She sees the eternal perspective, I think, while I get stuck in the here and now. 

Speaking about Anna, my friend Bridget said it so well,
"Little Anna is free. There is no Rett Syndrome in heaven. I imagine her with all of her sisters dancing on strong legs without braces and singing with the most beautiful voice imaginable. She is home, she is filled with joy and there is no pain left in her body..."
So as I stared at the screen of my phone and Facebook asked me, "What's on your mind?," I couldn't help but think of Anna and her family and Leah and our larger Rett family. Leah will one day be free. But my hope is that she will be free while she's here. It made me think of Amy, who is running for Leah in just two short months. It made me think of all the doctors, organizations, researchers and volunteers who devote time and energy to bringing that freedom closer and closer every day. And, with tears swelling up in my eyes for sweet little Anna's family, I heard my little Leah stir, waking for the day. 

And it made me smile.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

home again, home again...

...jiggity jig. 

After three and a half weeks in Utah, we packed our bags {more like we jammed them full and had to sit and jump on them to make the zippers zip} and flew our family of four home. It was nice to be all together, in our own beds, for the first time in months. 

We may or may not have looked like a traveling circus at the airport, but I was just grateful to have an extra set of hands. And Leah was grateful we bought her a travel pillow in Utah for comfort on the plane.

Home. Sweet. Home.

august in an instant

For starters, I just can't believe that August is already over. For so long it was a month we looked forward to, and just like that, it's behind us. Good thing September is always one of my favorites.

As anticipated, August was full of friends, family, food, shopping and excitement of olympic proportions. More detailed posts are to come. But for now, I leave you with my snapshots of August via instagram. 

What. A. Month.