Happy Birthday 

What are bithdays? 

Celebration of someone’s birth, a joyous reminder and thankfulness of a person being on this earth with us.  A reminder of all the years we have lived and memories we have created.  Milestones that have been crossed. 

Today is Dad’s birthday. 49 years old.  

Happy Birthday 49

The last long conversation we had a couple of weeks ago, I was teasing him about how he was getting old and approaching 50.  It was an on going joke for us.  He would give me a hard time about getting close to 30 and how I was still young but old.  

Now, I look at him and all the humor is gone. I would normally tell him how oldmanish he was and ask if it was a “dry birthday” (mean: he didn’t get any gifts).  To him, birthdays are just another day. But this year…this year is a big deal.  

We could experience a miracles but this might be his last birthday. He has had no change in 8 days.  The hardest part about this, and there are many, he looks so good.  Like he is just going to wake up and walk out of the hospital with us.  How can someone’s body be so perfect but their mind be gone?  How cruel is the world to leave us with a shell.

Today on his 49th birthday, I’m going to refect on the past 24 years I have been blessed enough to spend with him.  It just doesn’t seem enough or long enough. 

I was 4 when my mom married him.  For a couple of years we were close.  Life happened, being in a tangled complex family happened, and we had a strained relationship.  For the past 3 years we have worked on this relationship and grown closer.  This past year we have been very close. We text almost daily and talk on the phone weekly.  He called me Wednesday night before this happened, I called him back, he called me back and we never got to talk that one last time. I’m having a really hard time thinking about all those waisted years.  But I’m so glad I have had the past couple of years and felt his fatherly love.  I do know now, it is better to love than never love at all. 

Giving me away at my wedding 2008

Dry Bones

The first time I hurt like this the doctors were talking to us about terminating Ari at 20 weeks gestational with the girls.  It has almost been four years and I can still feel the tears warm my cheek as we froze the fresh picked berries. We had just come from the first bleak doctors appointment. The testes showed Ari not doing well and they feared that if she died, Kaia would die or have brain damage.  We felt the option wasn’t up to us and held onto hope.  Now, I look at them and see how wonderfully perfect they are. We maded the tough call to not intervene and it was the right one.

So here we are April 16, 2015…and that pain is back. Maybe years have dulled my memory of the pain, I don’t remember it being this hard.  This whole thing is cruel. My brothers and I are too young to lose a Dad.  My mom is too young to be a widow. He is too healthy to leave us.  My kids need their Papa.  I need my weekly call to check in on my training. The girls dance recital, brothers graduations, our family race in July, weddings, birth of more grandkids…endless list of life still left to live for a 48 year old.

Last Thursday, everything seemed to go right for someone to have a heart attack. CPR was started right away, EMT’s responded right away, they used the AED right away, airflight came right away and got him stable, surgery took 30 minutes to get the stent in, and they got him cooled right after the surgery.  Smooth and routine.  But we are day 7 in the hospital and day 5 from when his tempature was back to normal but he still hasn’t woke up. 

I have waited all my childhood and my early twenties to have a relationship with a dad.  Having my kids has opened the door and allowed my relationship with both my dads to grow.  After 24 years of having this hole in my life, I can’t open the hole back up after only 3 years.  I can’t lose either of them.  I can’t lose him.  I can’t do it.  It’s too cruel for all of us.  Not fair.

So, PLEASE wake up!

“my soul cries out/my soul cries out for you/these bones cry out/these dry bones cry/for you to live and move/only You can raise the dead/lift my head up”

What?

As our friend and pastor said, “Stay clear of AnneMarie these days. Just not safe.”  The avalanche is coming down.  Or maybe it’s that f-ing offices lady who said bad things happen in threes after our storage got broken into.  It’s probably all her fault. The universe is coming to get us and I have to grasp onto something before I get swallowed whole.

I will never know fully what happened yesterday as my 48 year old dad (step-dad) was teaching his P.E. class and collapsed after running the track with his students.  Or what it was like for my mom to get the news right before she took a bite of soggy pizza that something was wrong. I can’t EVEN imagine running down to the field to see CPR bring preformed as he turned gray and the helicopter landing in the football field.  But I do know what it’s like to see tubes coming out of all direction of his healthy muscular body.  I’ll never forget sitting with my youngest brother looking at our dad…was this really real?

I packed up and Tim drove Finnian and I to the airport. After our flight, we went to the hospital and now are staying with my youngest brother. It’s about 18 hours in and I’m still in shock.  How can this have even happened? A heart attack?! He’s physically fit…he was going to running the Missoula half this summer while I run the full marathon. He’s young, too young for this. 

Finnian’s first plan ride

He did amazing and LOVED it! The silver lining.

 

I have no updates. We won’t know more until they wake him up.  They will slowly start tonight.  CPR was preformed by another teacher and a retired one within three minutes of him falling; why he is even alive. There is a good chance he will have a full recovery and there will be no brain damage. We just don’t know until he’s a wake.

I had trouble sleeping.  I have only had about 3 1/2 hours but I seem to not be able to fall back asleep.  Maybe the heaviness is starting to weigh on me.  My mind just won’t shut down.  I thought blogging about all of this might help. 

Thank you for all the kind thoughts, prayers, and good vibes our way.  Also, I hope everyone will be ok with us using the GoFundMe money to help fund the travel cost of this.  On that note the insurance guy should be coming today to look at the van…I hope it’s good news because I might be at my max.

Enough Already

Having kids, having twins, I get to hear a lot of outlandish comments and questions from strangers.  The worst twin question I have encountered was, “Were they natural?” Completely innocent question that is really hurtful and not something a stranger should ask.  Plus, what baby isn’t natural?!

Today, I got called a bad mom.  I’m only going to let this go surface deep because 1.) Big Eyed lady was pretty off 2.) it wasn’t true in this situation and 3.) she just simply can’t judge my motherhood skills by a one minute exchange.

I love Trader Joe’s but also loath it.  We shop there every week. By we, I mean Kaia, Ari, Finnian, and myself.  The store just isn’t great for twins or more than two bodies in an isle, and it attracts a diverse crowd. It seems there are really laid back people and people who are very posh with the “don’t breathe on me” look.

As we were going down the canned food isle for marinara sauce, Kaia grabbed a packaged of sun dried tomatoes. One of the rules for the girls is to ask before placing items in the cart. I’m not sure if I can count the number of times I have come home to extra things in the grocery bags…fully paid for but unnoticed by myself because my “hands are full.” Quick note, I cringe every time someone says to me, “You got your hands full!”  It happens, on average, three times a day.  As Kaia placed the tomatoes in the cart, I grabbed them out and told her she had to put them back.  In route, she approaches Big Eyed and the tensions start to snap. Kaia was trying to squeeze past Big Eyed’s cart and said “excuse me.”

Big Eyed looks at her repugnantly saying, “What do you want!”

Kaia, “My mom says to put this away.”

Big Eyed, “Well! Go around!”

Me with a mother bear glare to Big Eyed, “You could use nicer words.”

Big Eyed, “You’re a bad mom.”

Me, “Actually, I think I’m a good mom.” And we walk away.

The second half of the shopping trip was just dealing with the normal shenanigans of having two three and a half year olds pushing carts their size around the store and arm holding a 15 month old because I forgot the Ergo.  If they find Carl and get lollipops they have to wait until we are in the van and have listened in the check out.  Today didn’t go so well so they didn’t get the lollipops.

Ari crying because she wanted her Trader Joe’s lollipop

Big Eyed doesn’t know me or my kids. And to be honest, I don’t think Kaia was in the wrong.  My girls, and myself for that matter, are very assertive.  I think this lady was very uncomfortable with kids and a mom who stood up for her kid. I was concerned that Kaia would get her feelings hurt because of the briskly rude adult she had interacted with.  I hope my children know I’m there to stand up for them and be their biggest advocate.

I was upset for someone to asses this situation and deem it not good parenting. I don’t agree, but it hurts to be looked at in that light regardless if it is right or wrong.  I’m trying really hard.  I want my kids to listen and be respectful.  I know I fail and have a lot of work to do in improving my parenting.  It is hard…so incredibably hard at times. I wonder if Big Eyed has any kids and is able to really know what it’s like.

I brushed it all off, made spaghetti, and got ready for family movie night.  Tim went to the storage unit to get Finnian’s chair and once again, we have been stolen from. The girls watched a movie and had dinner as we called the cops and took care of all the pleasantness of theft.

I should have known this day would been ‘one of those days’ when I got an AM call from the insurance company explaining the next steps in our van saga.  One of their claims estimators is coming out tomorrow or Wednesday to quote what the damage is.  Sadly, the lady didn’t sound to optimistic about the van. Of course, she hasn’t seen it so there is hope.  I’m glad this is out of my hands and will all be over with soon.

So! Please send all your prayers, good vibes and good karma our way.  I truly don’t know how much more I can handle.  I’m maxed out and overwhelmed from this two week roller coaster.

Easter 2015

Easter 2015

Miracles Happen

Well the van saga continues!

Today was the Seattle Family of Multiples Egg Hunt party that I was in charge of planning. Tim worked a Monday-Friday week and was able to help me get everything ready and wrangle the kids.  It was a great success! Great food from The Green Bean, coffee from Starbucks, and over a hundred little kids running around.  To top it off it was amazing weather in Seattle.

Finnian enjoying his egg basket.

Finnian enjoying his egg basket.

Girls enjoying the SFOM egg hunt

Girls enjoying the SFOM egg hunt

Next we went to Woodland Park Zoo for their annual egg hunt. The kids have always enjoyed it.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Zoo egg hunt

Zoo egg hunt

Ari trying to be patient to get the eggs

Ari trying to be patient to get the eggs

Look at the loot

Look at the loot

Dancing on the outside stage

Dancing on the outside stage

About one minute after we pulled away from the zoo all three kids were fast asleep…or was it even one minute?!  So as we were driving I asked Tim if he wanted to go on a little date to watch the Edmonds ferry while the kids slept.  It’s kind of silly because we would just be staying in the van with them but when you got three kids you take the time when you can get it.  As we drove up I-5 we talked about how we look for our van.  The girls even keep an eye out and have suggested places for us to look.  I of course always drive to those places that they suggest because who knows! Right!?

Well there is this place in Edmonds that is a perfect place to park and watch the ferries. Just North and up the hill from them.  It can be a little tricky to this spot as the road becomes a oneway mid way up the hill.  I can never remember what road to turn down.  Today was no different.  As we made a big loop back to get to the spot and drive down Edmonds Street, Tim points out a green Mercury Villager…No way…could it be???

I pull an u-ie and drive real slow past it. A new Washington license plate is on the back that isn’t ours but…the missing panel is the same as our van…and where our parking sticker had been located is a lot of residue from a sticker that wouldn’t fully come off…HOLY HOLY HOLY…it has to be!

I parked a car behind and Tim was shaking as he called 911.  We are instructed to wait in our vehicle for the officer.  That was a long eleven minutes.  I was so stressed out and anxious.  What if they come and take it? What would we do? I kept thinking, “Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease get here fast.”  The kids just slept through the whole ordeal.

The officer finally came (now thinking back he arrived very quickly) and we use our keys to open the van…YES! Our Van!

And there she is...parked in 3 hour parking spot and we just happened upon her

And there she is…parked in 3 hour parking spot and we just happened upon her

State we found the van in: food, trash, and receipts littered the floor, all the back seats pushed down, and an unpleasant fog of cigarette smoke in the air, driver door key slot damaged (how they got in), the ignition lock completely damaged (a screw driver was used to drive it), the steering wheel housing is very damaged, and makes terrible noise when going between the gears (like your trying to start your car and it is already on).

Items of ours that where left in the van: Discover Pass to Washington State Parks.

After Tim filed the police report, he drove our van home.

Now we have to wait to talk to the insurance and see where to go from here. I feel this odd relieve that is mingled in anxiety. First, what if it will cost more to fix the van then the insurance says it is worth?  Meaning that it is technically totaled. Second, what does this mean for all the money that has been raised by our incredible community if our van is fixable? What do we do with it? What is the right thing to do?

Monday we hope to know more and give an update after we talk to our insurance company. In the mean time…anyone have any advice??

Our Sweeten

I’m not sure where to start…or how to start.

I have spent the last couple days crying.  Those who know me well, know I’m not one to cry.  I have been just so overwhelmed by all this support and love that has been flowing our way.  This has all been so unexpected.  I never worried about things working out, but more worried about the means of how they would work out. Never would I have guessed that a couple of my good friends would come together and create a GoFundMe to help us out.  Never would I have guessed that strangers and people from our past to give so generously.

The end of the movie where the community is helping George Bailey out with the lost money.

The end of the movie where the community is helping George Bailey out with the lost money.

I keep thinking about George Bailey.  How did he ever thank everyone at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life for, in a lot of ways, saving his life?  I wasn’t standing on the bridge contemplating jumping off because of the heaviness but I did lay in bed for a couple of days to feel numb to the reality of it all.  I realize we shouldn’t get caught up in a one time situation that is not great, but in those moments it hard to think outside of the consuming heaviness.

Wednesday April 1st at about 4:25 I check my phone and have a text saying to go on Facebook.  At first I don’t understand until I see a link on my friends wall with our family picture on it.  I started to cry and never fully finished reading the page until this morning.    Will thank you ever be enough to understand how much this means to our family?  Thank you doesn’t seem enough to give the people who shared our story or donated to help us.  I have tried to thank everyone who has shared and donated but I know I have missed some.  I’m completely grateful and humbled by this love.  I can’t help but feel undeserving of it all.

My cousin Melissa sent a text with her witty little metaphor, “You and Tim make excellent lemonade out of lemons of life so soak in the sugar we’re adding to help sweeten your lemonade.”  So thank you for all this sugar to sweeten our life!

sugar and lemon

Community

Monday morning around 4 am our van was stolen from our secure parking garage. No other vehicles were stolen or have been stolen from this parking garage. All the car seats, reusable bags, and toys that had been on the floor were put into a neat pile in our parking spot.  At 9:15 am we went down the elevator to take the girls to swimming class and were greeted by the ornate collection of the inner but no van.

Yes, there are video cameras. Yes, they got footage of the person. No, I have not seen the video.

Monday was the day for adrenalin. Tim took the girls in the VW Bug to the end of swimming class and then off to dance class. I stayed with Finnian and made all the calls to the sheriff, insurance, and our friends about using their van. As much as we have loved the Bug and used it as a family car when we were just four, we simply will not all fit in the four seat car with five people and three being in car seats.  We are blessed to have our community. We are able to borrow our friends van while trying to figure everything out.  As I was sitting in the office waiting to talk to the sheriff, I was trying to think what was still in the van…the girl’s skis, girl’s ski boots, our Bob single stroller, and Finnian’s new Keen shoes I got at the multiple sale…tears start to creep.

They are just things…we are all ok. Everything can be replaced, and the whole day, I was just so thankful that they left the car seats…if only they had took out those shoes.

Tuesday-Wednesday I just wanted to lay in bed all day. Reality started to sink in that we are going to have to be looking for a new van.  We are going to have to figure out money…money we don’t have.  Heavy…more and more heaviness.  I got a lot of phone calls and text messages but everything just seemed so heavy.  Our van isn’t worth that much.  We had just put a lot of money into it a week before…quite possibly as much as the van is worth.

I finally found the energy to call State Farm back on Wednesday.

Good news: We have $0 deductible that will cover the van, snow chains, and jumper cables.  We have renters insurance that will cover the other items.

Bad news: There is a 21 day waiting period to see if the van is recovered.  Our renters insurance is a $1000 deductible.

It is hard to not ask, “why us?” but I’m thinking of all the little blessings…the car seats were not taken…our friends are letting us use their van until we figure everything out…getting a jogging stroller from Edmonds Mom’s for free Thursday… friends bringing me bags of shoes for Finnian…and just simple faith that it will all work out.  It is useless to just dwell on the weight of what this means when I know it will be ok in the long run.  Something will work out.  It always does.

When I was cleaning up in our room Wednesday I found one of the Keen shoes I thought was in the van.  I looked around and finally found the mate.  I cried…over shoes. It was the hope that I had lost being restored in something so simple.  I’m still saddened by everything that was taken.  I am just trying to find the silver lining within what we have and the community that constantly supports us.  This is just a minor set back in the big picture that feels like an avalanche.  In the mean time, if you could keep an eye out for our green Mercury Villager and those little skis we would be grateful.

Flowers from Christina

Flowers from Christina