Friday, May 31, 2013

Happiness is...

Happiness is seeing your child put a smile on someone else's face.
Happiness is being able to smile and nod when a stranger says to "cherish these days".  If they only knew.  

The week has been filled with parades, bbqs, trips out to eat, grocery shopping, errand running and other seemingly monotonous tasks.  For a preemie who was in isolation for much of the first 17 months of life these are all exciting new experiences.

Tonight we went to chipotle (who happens to serve antibiotic free meat) for the first time.
Virginia watched in great interest and eagerness while we went down the line to order our food.  She gibbered away as if asking for "a little more shredded cheese" and a "dollup of sour cream too."  She charmed the cashier with a big smile.   She made a mess, begged for guac, nearly choked on a chip and in true Virginia fashion stuffed her little face.   She stared at in awe watched the little girl at the next table and said "buh byeee" to each person we passed on the way out.  I watched it all go by in awe of where we are and how far she has come.  

The world has been missing out on this little lady but she sure is making up for it.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


These days are special days in our family.  Yesterday was Heath's birthday (it was the big 3-0!) as well as his sister Kim's birthday, today is my grandmother Virginia's birthday and uncle Mike's birthday (happy birthday Uncle Mike!) , and tomorrow is my Pop Pop's birthday.  

Big Virginia would have been 98 today and Pop Pop Justin would have been 100 tomorrow.

Grandma Virginia & Pop Pop Justin

2 years ago today is also the day that I knew I was pregnant.  I was scared out of my mind and it took me another day to work up the courage to confirm it with a pregnancy test.  I'm not sure it even occurred to me that day that it was also Grandma Virginia's birthday, mostly because I was stressing over the 2 glasses of wine that I had at Heath's birthday dinner the night before. 

I had such a special bond with both of my Grandmothers and have such wonderful memories with them.  I prayed to St. Gerard (the patron saint of expectant mothers) and to Grandma Jean (my Moms Mom) and Grandma Virginia (my Dad's Mom) every. single . day . that I was on bedrest.  I knew that they would have been so worried and had they been alive would have worn out their rosary beads during those months we spent at Yale New Haven Hospital.  During the last desperate days of bedrest when my new goal was to make it to another shift and another day I prayed and prayed and prayed that I could make it to Grandma Jean's birthday.  I thought for sure that if I found out I was pregnant on Grandma Virginia's birthday that I certainly could make it to Grandma Jean's birthday to give birth.   We came up a few days short but in the end the spirit of these wonderful women gave me strength.  

Happy birthday Big Virginia! 
Im certainly thinking of you often as the cicadas are about to return ;)
You made the best grilled ham and cheese that I have ever had.
I can still smell the wintergreen gum wafting from your pantry.
I can still feel your warm soft hands and the gentle squeeze that you would give my hands when we talked.  
I can still see your mischievous smile as you would pull us into the water during "adult swim" at Greenbelt Pool.
I can still hear the the whistle of your teapot - announcing that it was ready. 
I can still taste that southern fried chicken and fries.  I know most of the Klems talk about your spaghetti but your Fried Chicken was the best ;)

I think of you every single day when I look at my little Virginia.  We are honored for our little warrior to have your big strong name.  I promise she will live it well... she already has.  

our little Virginia with Big Virginia's treasured charm bracelet

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Its been a busy 19 months few days  and I had lost some perspective.

It was gained back this  morning during the chaotic 30 minutes between when Sarah (our nanny/babysitter/great friend) arrived and when I arrived at my desk.  

It was in that time that my husband was finally home (yay) after 4 days away.

It was in that time that Ginny asked me for more milk without throwing her cup or incessantly whining.

It was in that time, as I was cleaning her up from breakfast that I resisted to the urge to pick her up to wipe the banana off of her pants and instead sat there and marveled as she walked clear across the room.

It was in that moment that I realized that she IS making progress.

It was in that moment that I realized that is is me that needs to slow down, to observe, to encourage, to regain my perspective.  

When I arrived at work I opened up a message from another preemie mom reminding me that it is all about patience, perspective, and gratitude.   Those 30 minutes today changed me and were just what I needed in order to be a better Mom.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

mom confessions

Another confessions post... its been an epic few weeks

It took me until noon today to realize that I had a baby sock stuck inside my shirt.  Im hoping no one at my various meetings noticed the strange purple lump.  

Last week I used my hair straightener to "iron" a wrinkled bow on Virginia's dress.

I often let Virginia play with my makeup brushes while I get ready in the morning.  The feminist side of me is appalled. 

You know you are a neurotic preemie blog mom when several hits a day come from google searches including "purell" or "hand sanitizer"

Heath is away on work travel.  Im finding it harder to be a single dog mom than it is to be a single human mom.  Pippi is clearly pissed that Heath is gone and is letting me know it by peeing on my newish area rug everyday.  

Heath is away... which means an acceptable dinner for me is pretzels, applesauce and chocolate covered espresso beans.

This weekend I let my kid play outside until noon in her footed pajamas.  

Virginia woke up at 3am this past Sunday and wouldn't go back to bed.  I finally fed her breakfast at 6am and she passed out in the highchair.  I seriously considered leaving her there and taking a nap on the couch.  

Naturally as an architect I was thrilled with Virginia's sketching form.  I was not as thrilled when I realized that she promptly wedged that crayon in her nose. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


A common bond that I find in the preemie and NICU community is a intense feeling of gratitude.  While each person, each story has devastating heartbreak, disappointment, guilt, and fear there are greater stories of triumph and gratitude.  It can often take a long time to find that gratitude but it is usually there.  For it is through that heartbreak, disappointment, guilt and fear that makes each of us grateful for what we do have. Grateful for who we are with on this journey. Grateful for where we are.  Grateful for what we have become.  

Last Friday I was honored to be a part of a March of Dimes fundraiser that centered around gratitude.  It was the brainchild of my friends Brooke and Kevin, who selflessly and passionately organized and engaged the local family teams community to create a fundraiser that benefited each family team. The evening centered around our common bonds and celebrated the reason that we all come together for the March of Dimes.  Family teams were encouraged to invite friends, family and coworkers to the event but to also bring along someone that they were grateful for during their journeys.  It was truly a beautiful (and successful!) gathering of family, friends, supporters, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, NICU mentors, and March of Dimes staff.  

Below are the two videos that were shown during the program.  No words can explain the the heartbreak and gratitude better than these images.  

video courtesy of Seven Gables Photography

Brooke, April and Alyssa
photo courtesy of  Seven Gables Photography

In addition to sharing her story through her video, April of Lily's Amazing Grace passionately talked about her family's journey with prematurity and loss and why her heartbreak and gratitude has made her passionate about helping others.  She is a NICU nurse, a March of Dimes Ambassador, and  honors her daughter Lily everyday through her own non-profit. 

I am so grateful to have Brooke and April in my life.  They have both endured far more than one can even imagine, yet each find the strength, resolve and gratitude to give back.  Thank you for all you do for this community.  We are grateful for you! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It takes a village...

It takes a village to be a Mom.
It took a village to care for my child when I just wanted to be a regular Mom.
It takes a village to be a preemie Mom.
It takes a village to be a working Mom.
It takes a village to be a Mom.
It takes a village to be a rookie Mom.
It takes a village to be a modern Mom.
It takes a village to truly appreciate the pureness of motherhood.

Im so thankful to all of the very special people in my village.  They are family, they are strangers, they are neighbors, they are bloggers, they are preemie mamas, they are loss mamas, they are new friends, they are old friends.  

Today I celebrate my village.  Happy Mothers day to all the Moms and all the villages out there and to these two beautiful Moms.

 My Mom (Moma) on the first day that she was able to hold Virginia. 

My Mother in Law (Nino) on the first day that she was able to hold Virginia.

Last years mothers day post will forever apply to My Little Virginia.  xoxo

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

mom confessions

Previous mom confessions can be found here , here and here .

In the past week I have caught Virginia eating mulch, dirt, and dog food. 

Virginia is in a Mama stage.  It is very sweet and I am secretly loving it. That is, except for the screaming and desperately reaching for me as I leave for work in the morning.  Walking away form your screaming child is so unnatural isn't it?

It is SO hard not to compare kids.  

I am WAY more exhausted after a day at home with Virginia than I am on any workday.  Even on the days where I go back into the office after she is in bed.

Ginny's  s.l.o.w. progress towards truly walking is making me crazy.  This is mostly because I am just anxious for her to meet this milestone and start to blossom in other areas, but also because she is ruining all of her pants and shoes.  Shameful, I know.  

I always feel like I am "cramming" for a test every Thursday as I try to fit in all of the PT exercises that I have forgotten about prior to Friday morning sessions.  This is getting better as I find more ways to integrate the exercises into our morning routine because the evenings in this house are deemed a success if everyone is fed and bathed without any major meltdowns (adults included). 

I long for the day that I can take a shower without having to toss bath toys out of the shower to keep V from emptying the trash, unraveling the toilet paper, and  taking a dip in the toilet.  

sippycups suck.  Seriously... their only job is to NOT leak and all they do is leak.  

Nothing to confess here... I am just proud as a peacock of this little girl

Monday, May 6, 2013

March For Babies - Round 2

We had another wonderful March for Babies weekend with our friends and family.  We had family travel from as far away as Maryland, Long Island and Upstate New York and had Friends travel in from Boston and Westchester.  The proper words escape me to relay just how thankful we are for all of the love and support for Virginia and our family and for the March of Dimes.  We still have 1 more big fundraiser to close out our March of Dimes season (more on that later this week) but in the meantime here is Team Go Ginny Go by the numbers:

2 walks
#1 team in Fairfield County; Top 5 in the state
41 Adult walkers
14 baby/toddler wobblers
over 100 individual donations
11 people who raised over $150.  Congrats and Thank YOU to Jenn F, Colleen R, Donna K, Ellie H, Mary F, Tricia D, Heath K, Suzanne P, Leah F and Diana O.

and $10,751 raised so far.  
All so that one day all babies will be born healthy.

Thank you ALL for your support for Go Ginny Go!  We will be back again for March for Babies 2014 and Im sure by then Virginia will be RUNNING! 

 baby friends

 baby friends photo fail

 Go Ginny Go Fairfield

 Future Architects

Team Go Ginny Go (those that weren't ready for a nap!) went to Shake Shack after the walk for burgers and Go Ginny Go Concretes (ice cream).  Perfect way to end a perfect day!  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

highs and lows

 low for the week: Forgetting Virginia's bag and not realizing it until we were 3.5 hours away from home.  Luckily we had a few diapers, a sippy cup and some toys.  The problem was that we had family photos the next morning so I was at target bright and early to get clothes and necessities.  It may be the low for the week , but any low that includes a solo trip to target must make it a pretty good week.
 high for the week:  Going to Shake Shack for dessert.  A very special dessert indeed!  Ginny currently has her very own "concrete" that benefits the March of Dimes at our local Shake Shack.  She loved her very own creation (vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, milk chocolate chunks and cheesecake blondie) and it was fun see all of the Go Ginny Go signs around the restaurant.  We will be going one more time after the March for Babies walk on Sunday with our friends and family!

funny moment of the week: Ginny dancing with her Y bike down the sidewalk.  She loves being outside these days.  She practices walking, plays in the dirt, and LOVES watching the big kids play tag in the courtyard.