Sunday, February 17, 2013


The quiet is almost surreal.  Jim, Lilly and Jack set off for Villanova at 9am on Friday morning to visit Meme and Pop and do some car shopping.  At first, being home by myself just felt like a long nap time.  As the quiet progressed well into the dinner/bed time hours, the realization of a weekend to myself took shape.  I sat down and enjoyed my tea and coffee while it was hot, rather than heating it up in the microwave several times, before giving up and pouring it out.  I put my plate in the dishwasher after lunch--and that was it.  There was no other cleaning up to be done.  I haven't picked up a single toy since Friday morning.  I went to a doctor's appointment by myself--and actually hoped for a long wait so I could sit and read, instead of convincing Jack that his stroller is a good place to sit in the waiting room while trying to answer all of Lilly's questions pertaining to the posters of pregnant women and "the birth process" on the walls.  Of course, they took me right in--even before my scheduled appointment time.  I wandered around Trader Joe's, buying fresh fruit and veggies for my new Vitamix, resisting the urge to narrate my way through the store, as I usually do while shopping with Lilly and Jack.

my first homemade green juice: kale, cucumber, celery, apple & lemon.  amazing.
I got out all the tiny newborn clothes, and took my time washing, drying and folding them.  I washed baby blankets and finished knitting little hospital hats.  I took out my childbirth books and reminded myself what lies ahead (just in case I'd forgotten the last two times, which rest assured, I haven't).  I watched movies in the middle of the day.  When I woke up in the mornings, I made coffee and went back to bed to read, while listening to quiet music.  I went to the gym and to church by myself.  I tutored and went to Starbucks, where I enjoyed a latte and read for awhile.  I cleaned, cleaned and cleaned some more, scrubbing everything I could lie my hands on in our house.

ready to bring home a baby!
the hospital hats
a newborn onesie next to Jack's :) 
Now, it's Sunday evening, and I've had enough of the quiet.  Whereas last week, I didn't feel quite prepared for the baby, I now feel ready for Baby Clark #3's arrival--the baby and I got to spend a lot of time together this weekend.  I felt more kicks and punches in the last couple of days that I've felt the entire pregnancy.  I've always loved being by myself, so I enjoyed these three days, but I'm ready for my family to come home.  I miss Jim and I miss my little ones.  The house is too clean and too quiet.  I'm ready to hear little voices chatting and playing together in their room when they wake up in the morning and I'm ready to spend my evenings with my husband again.  I feel relaxed and refreshed and ready to be a Mum...of (almost) 3 little ones.

Tomorrow morning, Jim is picking up our new car (so we can fit the baby!) and coming home, so I know that by lunch time, our house will be back to normal.  I loved my weekend to myself and appreciated every minute of quiet.  There's not much more I could ask for at 37 weeks pregnant.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Nemo Blizzard

The snow goes over the fence in our front yard, and above our mailbox!
The Weather Channel started naming all major storms this year, much to the National Weather Service's dismay.  Apparently only hurricanes are worth naming in the National Weather Service's eyes.  Unfortunately for the National Weather Service, these storm names have caught on, and everyone was talking about Nemo...the blizzard of 2013.  Lilly still talks about "The Sandy Hurricane," known to the rest of us as Hurricane Sandy, so she was thrilled to learn that this blizzard was given the name of her favorite fish, Nemo.  Nemo was quite the storm, surpassing all snow estimates.  The last forecast we heard on Friday was for 18-24 inches.  The town of Fairfield updated the snow amounts today to 35 inches of snow!  That's taller than Jack (he was 33 inches tall at his check up last week) and just a little bit shorter than Lilly.  There's no better way to describe 35 inches of snow than through pictures.  Lilly amazed me with her enthusiasm for playing in the snow.  She was out there for hours each day this weekend.  Occasionally, she'd run inside, freezing cold with her bright red little nose, and dump out snow from her boots or her mittens before sprinting off to play some more.

Jim was outside shoveling for a large portion of the weekend.  Unfortunately, being 36 weeks pregnant made me less than useful in the snow clean up, so I had to help by doing things like making endless cups of coffee.  Jim shoveled for 3 hours yesterday, to get to the end of our driveway.  And then today, he was out building a hill in our backyard for Lilly to sled down.  I don't know who enjoyed the sledding more--Jim or Lilly.

Jack enjoyed most of the snow from inside, although he did have fun venturing outside for small increments of time, to put his finger in the snow (he pulls off his mittens the second you put them on him).  But every time he fell, which was inevitable given that the snow was higher than him, his hands would land in snow and he'd burst into tears.  We learned that Jack doesn't like it when his hands are cold, and since you can't explain to a 16 month old that the answer to this is mittens, Jack enjoyed watching the blizzard from inside.

Early Friday morning--the snow was just beginning!

very happy to watch from inside

Half way up the garage doors!

the view from our front door
the view from our bedroom window

directing Dad on how to build the perfect sledding hill!

*change the settings to watch in HD!

A post blizzard, post sledding, post bath, nap.  This three-year-old loved the Nemo Blizzard, 2013.  And schools are closed for the next two days, so she has some time to recover!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Little Moments

Do you ever have these moments when you are overcome with happiness?  They're hard to describe, and for me, they come out of nowhere and happen at the strangest times.  I had these moments at times you would expect; when I walked down the aisle to marry Jim, and after both Lilly and Jack were born.  But sometimes, they happen out of the blue.  For example, I had one of these moments early last year, when I was driving back from doctor's appointment in the middle of the day, with a sick Lilly and a tiny Jack.  The only way to really describe is to say that all I could do was smile.  Not because Lilly was sick or because we were stuck in traffic driving back from the doctor's office, but because at that moment, I realized that my life is good.  I was exactly where I wanted to be--looking after my children.  I didn't have to run out of work to take Lil to the doctor; I didn't have anywhere else that I needed to be; at that moment, I appreciated more than ever the sacrifices that Jim and I make so that I can stay home with our little ones.  We're doing what works for us, which isn't always easy.  It's not what is best for any other family, but it is what is best for us.

This morning, I had another one of these moments, and once again, it came out of nowhere and for no special reason.  We have 30 inches of snow outside, which for Lilly, made this morning just as exciting as Christmas.  She came into our room earlier than we would have liked to wake us up and show us how much snow was outside our bedroom door.  Her face lit up with the innocence of a three-year-old.  While Jim and I would happily have enjoyed this blizzard from inside, watching a movie or reading and drinking coffee, Lilly and Jack had other plans.  Jack went back to sleep this morning, as he had his 15 month shots on Thursday and is getting more teeth, so he's had better days.  Lilly eagerly put on her snow gear and headed outside to "help" Jim shovel us out.  Just as Jim would shovel a path, Lilly would walk along the path, pushing more snow into it.  Jim realized that his effort at explaining why she should play in the rest of the yard instead of right where he was shoveling, was futile.  So he kept shoveling and Lilly kept "helping."  I was taking pictures from inside, as I can think of things that are more fun than being 36 weeks pregnant in the snow.  As I was taking pictures, with my hot cup of coffee, I was once again overcome with happiness.  I don't know why this moment brought on these feelings, but as I watched my husband and my little daughter outside, and thought about a not-so-happy little guy sleeping upstairs, I couldn't help but smile.  These moments are little reminders,  that seem to come out of nowhere, just letting me know that I have a wonderful life.  It's not perfect, and it's not the life that everyone would choose, but for me, I'm right where I want to be.

I love these little reminders, because as I said, life is never perfect.  I have many moments when I wonder if we're making the right decisions; I wonder if I'm being the best wife I can be; I wonder if I could be a better mother.  I have moments when I just want to be by myself, and instead I'm surrounded by little people who are constantly talking or asking to be held.  I have moments when I want to burst into tears, for no real reason other than I'm overwhelmed, but know that I can't burst into tears in front of my children.  What would my explanation to Lilly be as to why I'm crying?  Something along the lines of, "because I'm tired and feel big and pregnant and just want to be left alone!"

Luckily, the moments of happiness far outnumber the moments of uncertainty.  As I've discovered, this is all part of being a Mum.

Here's how our weekend started.  Lots more blizzard pictures to come!  We are enjoying Nemo, 2013.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hubba, Hubba

Just a little snippet of our Sunday.  We didn't do very much today--after a busy Saturday filled with ballet, a birthday party and car shopping, it was nice to relax and spend time at home today.  This afternoon, Lilly came running into the kitchen after looking at herself in the mirror and said, "Mum, I just realized that I forgot to get dressed today!"

This is Jack, who thanks to his big sister's love of playing dress ups, has his own interpretation of "Hubba, hubba!" (press the little wheel on the video to change to HD viewing).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Musings of a 3-Year-Old

Lilly spends her entire Saturday in her ballet clothes :)
Just as Jack is growing up faster than I thought was possible, so is little Lilly.  Even though I still call her, "little one," she's quickly approaching four and not really so little anymore.  She is truly a funny little girl.  Her stories are full of imagination and details that I didn't know were possible.  Lilly and Jim spend hours every weekend telling each other stories that they've made up.  They do the same thing with songs.  Lilly's most recent song, which she was singing to Jim the other night before she went to bed was, "There once was a frog...who sat on a log...who had possibilities..."  Possibilities?  Really?  I was smiling when I heard it from downstairs and Jim came down from putting her to bed laughing, asking if I'd heard her newest creation.  In passing conversation while she was playing with Jim last weekend, she said, "Dad, I wonder who I'm going to marry?  I think maybe Jack.  When he's bigger.  Or maybe you."  This started another whole conversation--again, Jim didn't really know where to start. You can't marry your brother?  I'm already married to Mum?  Conversations with three-year-olds are never dull.

A weekend afternoon with Dad
Every day, her teacher tells me some little snippet of Lilly's school day that makes me laugh.  She's sharp and quick and keeps us on our toes.  On Wednesdays at school, Lilly has French.  She figured out that she has French on the same day that Jack has his swimming lesson.  So this past Wednesday, while I was getting Jack ready for swimming, Lilly was talking about what she thought she was going to learn in French that day.  When I picked her up, Miss Reilly told me that as they were sitting down to snack, which is the last part of their morning before recess, Lilly said, "Hey, wait a minute...when are we going to French?"  According to Miss Reilly, Lilly was the only one who noticed that something was a little bit off with their usual routine.  Her sharpness amazes me and scares me at the same time.  She remembers everything and doesn't let anything slide by.  She's learning how to sound out words and is extremely proud of this newfound ability.  The other day when we were on Skype with Mum and Dad, she was sounding out Papa and Gigi and typing it to them.  I can't believe she's old enough to start reading.

But, as quickly as she's growing up, I have to remind myself often that she's still so little.  She calls coat hangers, "hanger coats."  As with so many things, I know she won't do this forever, and it makes me smile.  So we let it be and enjoy her hanging up her "hanger coats" in her closet.  Lilly wants to know what every word or phrase she hears means.  At night, I'll hear Jim reading to her and her little voice chimes in with, "Dad, what means ______?"  She calls Monterey Jack cheese, "Montessori Jack" cheese.  Lilly does what every inquisitive child does and asks questions about other people while they're standing right next to her.  So at my doctors appointment a few weeks ago, as we were walking out, Lilly pointed to an elderly man and woman who were using walkers and said (in a voice that everyone could hear...), "Mum, why are those people old?" I wasn't quite sure how to get into the whole, "we're all going to be like one day," discussion, but we did talk about how people get older, before she was distracted by a puddle that she could jump in on the way to the car.

After an exhausting afternoon of playing at a friend's house.  Still so little..
As much as she loves learning about the continents and moon, she adores coming home from school and playing.  She loves her ballet class and the strawberry frosted donut with sprinkles that she gets on the way home from ballet.  She loves going to church--I think she loves anything social.  Last weekend, we tried a new church and went to the children's mass.  The priest called all the children up for the homily and had them sit on the alter while he was talking to them.  His homily was about talents, so he told them what a talent was and then explained to them what his talents were.  Then, he asked the children what talents they possessed.  One little boy said he was good at soccer.  Another girl was good at gymnastics.  Lilly's hand shot straight up and she proudly declared that, "I'm a good listener!"  You could hear the quiet laughter throughout the church, as the priest responded, "Oh good...we need more therapists in this world!"  Of all the things to choose, Lilly chose listening.  Probably because it's been a hot topic around our house.  Again, she knows what to say to grownups, and Jim and I just shook our heads and laughed.  She also mentioned today, when she heard me retelling this story, that "the priest wasn't good at drawing, and that we all have to use the talents that God gave us."  If only she'd listen to us like she listens to the priest!

We've had a few months where Lilly has tested every limit, every boundary and challenged almost everything we've asked her to do.  It lasted from about October, when she turned three and a half, until a month or so ago, when I think she figured out that we're not budging on any of these rules.  She has accepted the fact that sometimes she has to wear things other than dresses; that she has to eat her dinner, even if it's not her favorite food; that she has to brush her teeth before she goes to bed.  We had battle after battle after battle, and there were days when I felt like all I was doing was correcting her behavior or telling her she couldn't do something.  Thankfully, I think those days have passed.  For now, anyway.  Lilly can't wait to be, as she says, "another big sister" to this baby, and I can't wait to see her with this brand new baby.      

A mother's view of Lilly's 3-year-old ballet class