Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Growing . . .

One of the comments I heard over and over again after friends and family had received our Christmas card in the mail was how much older the girls looked in the photo.  That was unintentional.  Well, as unintentional as an image can be.  The dance studio had our card hanging up in the lobby and so the topic for discussion at dance for a few weeks was how fast kids grow up.  One night the girls' dance teacher, who has known them since they were little preschoolers, told me she had asked Allie if I ever tell her and her sisters to stop growing and Allie had said no.  I had to think about it for a minute.  Do I? I think I more reminisce on their itty bitty days which leads me to how difficult those days were and where we are now.

I loved having three snuggly, absolutely adorable, little baby girls but I also didn't sleep very much those days.  When you're pregnant, everyone tells you to sleep as much as you can before the baby arrives.  Pregnant with three, I didn't sleep much at all because I was constantly uncomfortable.  If I wanted to move from my left to my right side in bed, I couldn't just roll over.  I had to scoot and climb out of bed, rearrange the gigantic body pillow and then climb back in.  I could only stay in one spot for a few hours at a time before the weight from my midsection became too much to bear and so I would have to find a new position in which to rest.  Sometimes I rocked in the glider in what was supposed to have been Abigail's room and whispered to them.  I wanted them to know how much I loved them in case I never was able to tell them here in this world.

Those early days were so sleep deprived and chaotic, I did look forward to the day when life would be "easier."  Although, everyone with triplets will tell you that it doesn't get easier - the difficulties of multiples change with time.  True.  But at least I can mostly sleep through the night now.  And I'm not demand feeding three infants.  I never wanted to wish away time but sometimes it does feel that way.  And then I read a comment from another stillbirth mom.  She said she loves seeing her children grow because her daughter, who was born still, will forever be a baby.  I'm so glad I happened to read this as it gave me a whole new perspective and it's so completely true.  What a blessing to watch our little ones grow and shine.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keepin' it real

Since the new year, there's been an increase in self-portraits (different from selfies) on my IG feed.  Some have been amazing and inspiring and so I thought I would give it a shot despite not having much patience for that type of photography.  "That type" being the kind that requires a remote.  And so I tried but the lack of natural light was hampering my progress and I gave up after two attempts.

(Lazy self-portrait)

Legit question:  Is it "in" now (and I know saying that makes me sound old) to say that you are uncomfortable or shy in front of the camera?  I know a lot of people and photographers really are but I don't understand the blogger/instagrammers who make this claim but their IG feeds are basically photos of themselves.  One stated this and I seriously thought she was being sarcastic at first.

Speaking of Instagram, have you read this article? Confessions of an Instagram Influencer.  Kind of eye-opening.

A photography blogger once wrote that those who use the strap that came with his/her camera are either amateurs or showing off which camera he/she has.  (Have I already talked about this?  I feel like I may be repeating myself.)  What about the practical people who really don't care?  I know there are more comfortable straps but I haven't taken the time to research and so I use the strap that came with my camera.  Call me an amateur but go ahead and poll 100 random people on the street.  How many even know what D750 means?

That's me on an average day.  Most days, I don't wear makeup.  There are days I dress nicer - like if Anna has an appointment.  But for the most part, I'm dropping off/picking up the girls from school (in a big winter coat) or sitting in the dance lobby (in a big winter coat) or running errands (in a big winter coat.)  Almost everyone else I know, who isn't dressed for work, dresses this way.  It's the norm in the real world but sometimes, the online world looks totally different.  I can't imagine wearing a silk blouse around the house all day while I do laundry and cook and clean.  (I'm looking at you stay-at-home mom fashion bloggers.)  I actually wear pajama pants when I'm at home - so comfy.

I was reading an article the other day about Whole 30 and I thought, Hey, maybe, and then quickly returned to eating my ice cream.  I am eating better but I still believe in moderation.  And ice cream.  After many, many, many years, I started lifting weights again. I'm not loving it but I like the results so I'll suck it up.  I've been running three times a week, very slowly trying to get back to three miles without that spot on my left leg flaring up.

Good night!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No, time does not stand still

Last Wednesday, as the girls and I were loitering outside the school, waiting for the doors to open for the day, I received word that Grammy's uncle had passed away in Kentucky.  He was 69 years old, two years older than Grammy and seemingly young to have left this world, but his heart had failed him.  Growing up, Grammy was an only child for 17 years so aunts, uncles and cousins who were close in age were more like siblings.  I last spoke to Uncle S at Papaw's funeral back in May.  I had mentioned wanting to bring the girls for a visit and we talked about his farm.  He was fun and outgoing, and I know he would have made the girls smile.

The girls saw my face fall and I told them what was going on.  I brought up again how I'd been meaning to bring them to Kentucky to visit family.

"You keep talking about going to Kentucky.  What are you waiting for?  Time doesn't stand still."

Words of wisdom from Anna, age 9.

A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I were discussing vacation plans for the summer and she commented how it seems crazy to be making summer plans for next year when the kids had just gone back to school.  I agreed.  But now, in January, June is only five months away.  Currently, we only have concrete plans for a week in July.  The rest of the summer is open but there are tentative plans for this and that.  I definitely want to head over to Michigan again, and now I'm thinking we should travel down to Kentucky for a few days as a part of that trip.  The girls have requested a full day at Niagara Falls to explore as part of our Michigan road trip.

As of right now, this upcoming summer will be anything but boring.  I'm not planning on sitting around the house.  I want to take advantage of my time at home and where the girls are right now in life.

You only get one chance to do this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Life Lately

I usually enjoy a good storm (or two) and then I'm done with winter.  Last week, we had two storms roll through back to back.  Friday morning, we awakened to a world of white.  Thankfully, not enough to impact school.  The second storm began late Saturday morning and dumped a foot of snow on us.  Maybe it's because I didn't have to deal with commuting, but it really didn't seem all that bad.  I do find myself dreaming of tropical weather though.  




In addition to always feeling cold, I'm not enjoying this lack of light into the house.  It's very noticeable to me now that I'm home.  The only time direct sunlight hits our house is in the morning.  After that, the sun is too low and blocked by trees and other houses.


We finally (after how many months) found the leak in the pipe that drains water from the girls' shower.  We had to remove a kitchen cabinet, which caused the delay, but once that cabinet came down, the nail hole was immediately noticeable.  Thankfully, it wasn't all the way up the wall so we didn't have to rip out a ton of sheetrock.


The cream colored portion of the wall is where the kitchen cabinet belongs.  I just love all of these nail holes.  Seriously?


The plumber came out last week and repaired everything.  Now we need to replace the sheetrock and rehang the cabinet.  I was planning to repaint the kitchen anyway.

For those of you who paint your own nails, have you tried Essie's Gel Setter top coat?  I picked up a bottle a few months ago and I feel like it definitely extends the life of my manicure.  I really just want my mani to last a week without chipping.  After a week, I'm ready for a color change and the gap between the polish and my cuticles becomes noticeable and annoying.  I've used it with OPI nail polish and it works just as well.


I painted my nails on a Friday afternoon and this photo was taken on Thursday morning.  It's easy to remove as well, no different from other polishes and top coats.  I may try two coats the next time.  Thus far, I've just been using one.  Have I ever discussed my nail polish obsession here?

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy

I was interested in reading this book for several different reasons.  Yes, it's a best seller, but this one jumped out at me because the author's family is from Kentucky.  My mom was born and raised in Kentucky.  Her parents, my Mamaw and Papaw, left for Michigan in the early '70s after my mom wed a Yankee and moved to Massachusetts.

Despite growing up in extremely different home situations, I did feel somewhat connected to the author, J.D. Vance.  The roots of our families are the same.  However, in my case, it's only my maternal side.  J.D. grew up a witness to alcohol and drug abuse, with domestic violence and a rotating door of father figures.  I did not.

"Other people have all kinds of names for their grandparents: grandpa, nanna, pop-pop, grannie, and so on.  Yet I've never heard anyone say "Mamaw" - pronounced ma'am-aw or "Papaw" outside of our community.  These names belong only to hillbilly grandparents."

That's how my brothers and I were supposed to pronounce our grandparents' names, but we are Bostonians, so growing up we had different versions.  Now, as an adult, that's how I say their names, with an accent that doesn't belong to me.

My Mamaw and Papaw grew up in poverty outside of Lexington, Kentucky.  My grandfather left home at an ungodly age to work and presumably escape his home situation.  Neither of my grandparents graduated from high school and my mom tells stories of eating fried bologna and crackers for dinner.  In the early 1970s, after my mom had married my father and moved to Massachusetts, his state of origin, my grandparents relocated to Michigan.  Mamaw's sister had settled in the outskirts of Detroit a few years earlier after her husband was employed by a motor company.  My grandfather found work with Chrysler, who remained his employer for all of his working days.  His was a success story.  (Although, I have to say, he told some horrific tales. For example, the guy who drove a Japanese car to work and found it disassembled in the parking lot after his shift.)  Papaw enjoyed a comfortable retirement until Alzheimer's took over.    

"I'd like to tell you how my grandparents thrived in their new environment, how they raised a successful family, and how they retired comfortably middle-class.  But that is a partial truth.  The full truth is that my grandparents struggled in their new life, and they continued to do so for decades."

The author's story is heartfelt and well written, but I wasn't shocked by anything, nor did I feel it was groundbreaking or unheard of.  Vance's success is commendable, but he's not the only person to struggle and come out on top.  His story is not the story of all those who have grown up in poverty in Kentucky.  There are plenty of families who moved out and found a comfortable middle class life.  As I read Hillbilly Elegy, I kept wondering how this particular memoir had become so wildly popular.  Don't get me wrong - it's a good book, but is it that good?  And then I found my answer.  The Times, along with others, have listed it as a book to read in order to understand why Trump won the election, and we all know how this is a hot topic.  Hillbilly Elegy does not outright discuss politics and, in fact, the author states, ". . . I know it starts when we stop blaming Obama or Bush or faceless companies and ask ourselves what we can do to make things better."  This memoir gives insight into and the social views of a certain portion of the population.  And, yes, this particular population swung from Democrat to Republican during the most recent election

I did enjoy reading Hillbilly Elegy - it just didn't blow my mind.  I do recommend it, especially if you enjoy memoirs and find interest in social issues here in America.

I want to end with this quote:

"At Papaw's funeral, as at other hillbilly funerals I've witnessed, the preacher invited everyone to stand up and say a few words about the deceased."

Is this true?  Does this only occur at hillbilly funerals?  It happened at my Papaw's funeral and being from Massachusetts, I assumed it was a Southern thing, not necessarily "hillbilly."

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