Happy Birthday, Dani (2013)

I promise this is not a birth story. I already did that, Here.)

Dani at dinner with her Fried Ice Cream last night

Ten years ago today, it had rained beginning on a Friday night and had rained non-stop Saturday. It actually continued to rain through Monday that Labor Day weekend. It was that heavy, rain that is heavy enough you know it is going to last a while, but not torrential or anything (in our region).

I found out from my doctor on Friday, August 29, 2003 that my pregnancy was continuing fine (due date was September 11) but that I had low fluid. He said if I didn’t want to drive to his office every other day for the duration of the pregnancy to get that checked, he was okay with inducing — the baby looked fine and ready for that. So on Saturday, I set about grabbing the last few things we needed from the store (in the heavy rainfall), toting Sarah around with me. Craig was working his part-time shift so it was just the two of us. We went to Mass, then dropped Sarah off at her Grandma’s and headed to the hospital for induction.

Dani was born on a Sunday. And it was Labor Day weekend and I got so much attention at the hospital that I wondered if I was the only person who had a baby that weekend. ūüôā¬†

Raising Dani has been my first experience with the mommy-guilt associated with splitting time and attention between two children. Of course, since we’ve gone at this having children thing a total of six times now, you can see I got over it. But a wise man, a father of eight, calmed my fears one day when I mentioned to him how I felt guilty that Dani wasn’t getting the one-on-one attention Sarah had gotten and wasn’t learning her letters and colors as fast as Sarah had. He said, “Michelle…Dani was born into a situation with a built-in best friend. She doesn’t need 100% of your time and attention because she has Sarah.” There was more to what he said, but that’s the gist of it and I couldn’t be more pleased that I adopted this mindset because having more children has never caused me the anxiety that I could have imagined back then.

A couple weeks ago, holding her cousin, Gunnar

At 10 years old, Dani is my child that most loves just BEING who she is at the time she is. She doesn’t aspire to be five or ten years older than she is. She doesn’t WANT to grow up quickly. She enjoys the present more than anyone I know. She teaches me daily what it means to live in the present, to eschew the past and not pine for the future. It’s such a blessing to watch her enjoy playing with dolls, reading fantasy books, continue the imaginary play long past the point that Sarah did.¬†

Dani’s faith seems to me that she truly embraces the idea of a “child-like” faith. She is not as serious as Sarah always was. Dani has the element of joy that comes with her faith experiences.¬†

Unfortunately that means that when the less pleasant aspects of our human lives infringe on the joyful, Dani takes it harder than the others. The funeral for Gregory was something that touched Dani in her sad realm. It destroyed just a tiny bit of her innocence, but I like how she found the positive quickly thereafter. I remember taking Dani and her sisters out for dinner the Sunday after Gregory died. Dani was talking about sharing with a friend at school her sorrow at losing her baby brother. But then she said, “And then I realized, it’s really a great thing…I have a brother in Heaven interceding for me directly to God! Isn’t that really cool, (friend)? My family has our own little Saint!” And it brought tears to my eyes then and sobs to my chest, but now it still brings tears to my eyes but a smile to my face.

My sweet, serious, sensitive, smart girl. I love her so much and am so amazed at the beautiful young lady she has become!

Happy Birthday, Dani!!

Happy Birthday!!!!!



An Update!

I guess I took an unintended Blog Break! ¬†I’m not sure how regular I’ll be here as we steam-roll into school year 2012-13, volleyball and everything else that makes blogging appear to be exactly what it is — a hobby I do if I have some “spare” time.

But here’s an update on the family.

Craig — We are very excited that Craig will have new days off starting the middle of this month. ¬†He actually gets Friday nights off! ¬†I knew it was too much to hope he’d get any weekend nights off…the Hospitality industry just doesn’t work that way. ¬†But, he will have Thursday and Friday off every week! ¬†This is totally awesome, OMG, I just have to SQUEEEEE!!!¬†excellent for our family, I think. ¬†You see…for the last 9 years, Craig’s regular schedule has included all weekend nights. ¬†I just accepted it as part and parcel of his job. ¬†So, when they asked for preferences and he asked for Friday as his one day off during the week he’d like to get, I was skeptical he’d get it, but…he did!! ¬†This change¬†effectively gives us about half the weekend together, as a family, each week. ¬†Since Craig won’t be working until 3:00 a.m. or even a graveyard shift on Friday nights, he will be up and about and able to help with the humongous amount of running around a Saturday requires for a family like ours (Ballet lesson at 9:00, Guitar lesson at 12:00, volleyball games, potentially Mass, birthday parties, etc. etc. etc.)

And, Craig is also training to run a marathon. ¬†I’m not sure which one he is training to run, but he wants to do it, so I am supportive. ¬†His new schedule should be helpful for his long runs.

Sarah — Entering 6th grade on the 15th, and her volleyball practices start Wednesday. ¬†I measured her last night after having her stand back-to-back with me and discovering she was to the top of my neck and she is 59 inches! ¬†I am not sure why that shocks me. ¬†I mean, she’s 11. ¬†But she has done some serious growing this summer. ¬†I have been tracking all the girls weights and heights every 3 months or so. ¬†July 29 was the last “weigh-in” date and Sarah had gained about 2 pounds in 3 months. ¬†I figured that was about right. ¬†But Saturday I noticed that Sarah looked different in a skirt she has worn all summer to Mass. ¬†And then I was observing her yesterday afternoon and I just thought, “Wow, she looks so different…” ¬†So I asked her to go weigh herself and let me know what it said. ¬†Do you know, that girl gained almost 4 pounds in a week? ¬†So, I’m not sure how much of her height happened this week, but that just blew me away. ¬†

Of course, along with physical changes come the emotional changes. ¬†Sarah really is a good girl. ¬†I fear that I react to that entire age group so much differently than she does. ¬†I find that certain things said (or not said) to Sarah by her peers make me sad/worrisome/angry and she doesn’t see it the same way I do. ¬†I’m not sure why that is. ¬†But this is my first trek into teenage-girl world with my daughters, and I’m learning as I go. ¬†I am definitely witnessing the generation gap. ¬†*sigh*

Now that Sarah has her iPod, I realize that I hardly get any pictures of her. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†need to fix that. ¬†But here’s one of her with her siblings and some cousins from this summer.

13 of the 18 Poliquin-side kids

Dani — Entering 3rd grade on the 15th. ¬†She has shot up this summer, too, though I didn’t measure her yesterday since she wasn’t feeling well. ¬†She seems to feel her physical growing pains a bit more accutely than Sarah. ¬†And, I think we have a little bug moving through the house as each of us has been a little bit “under the weather” recently. ¬†Dani gets to start learning volleyball this year and she is excited about that. ¬†Add that to the huge leap that occurs from 2nd to 3rd grade academically and the next few months will probably be big for her. ¬†Dani is getting better at swimming, too, as she progressed to the sessions where they start working on actual strokes.

Dani with her cousin that’s her age from SC

Helen — Entering 1st grade on the 15th. ¬†Just like the rest of the kids, she’s grown, but I haven’t checked her height (I think I was just so shocked at Sarah…) ¬†She is a reading fool! ¬†She really enjoyed The Magic Treehouse books this summer. ¬†She wears a skirt every day. ¬†I think it is because they are more comfortable for her. ¬†Most shorts and pants just don’t fit her body type too well right now. ¬†She began taking Classical Ballet last Saturday. ¬†She’ll have a class every Saturday with other 6-year-olds. ¬†She is very excited about it. She’s become a better swimmer all summer with her lessons. ¬†She was all over the pool like a fish last week when we went to hang out with some friends.

Ballerina Helen

Dominic — Entering preschool next week. ¬†He will get to go three full days a week. ¬†He is very excited about it. His favorite things to play with are his cars — specifically his Lightning McQueens (he has a few of them…ahem). ¬†He’s such a sweet little boy. ¬†One night he came to me with one of the girls’ Nintendo DS things and asked me if he could play with it. ¬†I told him to ask Dani (it looked like Dani’s). ¬†So I hear him go in the other room and ask Dani (very nicely…with “please” and everything). ¬†I hear Dani tell him that he can play with it. ¬†So as he is walking back toward the room I was in, I hear him say, “Dani, you are too good to me. ¬†Yeah, you are SO too good to me.” ¬†ūüôā

Future’s So Bright — He’s gotta wear shades

Vincent — is 13 months! ¬†Oh my. ¬†And he is walking all over the place now. ¬†He still has that funny gait where he kind of flings his feet out as he walks. ¬†Soooo. Cute. ¬†I walked in the door yesterday and he comes at me all feet flinging out with his arms up with the “pick-me-up now” grunts. ¬†Be still my heart.

Found a spot just for him — haha
My baby boy and me

I will begin a new role at my company this week. ¬†It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. ¬†Regardless of how scary it might be…there’s nothing to complain about with forward motion. ¬†I will tackle it with the same zeal I tackle other things in my life: ¬†Bring it on!

Have a great week!


Happy Birthday Dani!

Dani was born on Labor Day weekend.  
I remember the weekend so vividly for two reasons.  The first is obvious, of course, since Dani was born.  Even though it was the last day of August (Sunday) it was Labor Day weekend since the first Monday of September was on the 1st of the month.
But the other reason I remember it was that weekend was because it rained from night time Friday night through Labor Day that weekend.¬† As a matter of fact, it rained so much that weekend that it rendered all the watering WE had done on OUR lawn ALL SUMMER completely irrelevant.¬† You see, before that weekend, we still had green grass that we’d cared for all summer by watering religiously and all the neighbors had brown grass because they had let theirs die.¬† It rained so much that weekend that when we returned home from the hospital on Tuesday, everyone’s lawn was green.
I worry that I sometimes overlook Dani, or don’t pay as much attention to her as the other children.¬† Whether it is with the blog, taking pictures or bragging…sometimes I worry that I easily forget about my Dani-girl.¬†¬†
I don’t like to do that, though, so I am going to tell you all about my fantastic, second-born girl.
She was my fastest labor and delivery.¬† I went in to be induced (because I am always induced).¬† In Dani’s case, the late term ultrasound (38 weeks) showed that I had low fluid levels.¬† My doctor gave me the option that I could drive down to his office for NST’s every other day until I had her, or I could be induced.¬† He said I was favorable for induction and he wasn’t opposed.¬† So, 11 days before her due date, we entered the hospital on a Saturday night after attending Sunday Vigil Mass, receiving a blessing from our dear priest friend and dropping Sarah off at Grandma’s.¬†¬†
The nurse placed the Cytotec and by 2:00 a.m., I was having regular and real contractions.  By 6:00 a.m., they were coming fairly hard and the nurse offered that I could take a shower or a bath.  I opted for a bath and when that was over, they checked me and said things were progressing.  I remember around 7:30 a.m. or so that the contractions were getting more intense.  Around 8:00, I asked for an epidural.  The epidural was in place by 8:20 (you see, when you have a baby on Labor Day weekend, you get crazy-fast service!)  Doctor showed up around 9 and checked me and I think I was around 7 cm dilated.
Craig and I were talking and hanging out watching the contractions on the monitor.¬† The nurses came in around 9:50 a.m. to check me and said I was getting really close to complete.¬† The rest is kind of a blur.¬† Doctor came in and they were telling me I could start pushing (I started pushing at 10:06).¬† He noticed that the baby was coming pretty fast, so he hurried out to scrub up and returned.¬† I pushed twice.¬† My Danielle Christine was born at 10:11 a.m.¬† She had a small little bruise on her face that the doctor said was a result of “rapid pushing” but she was perfect.¬† She had flaming red hair and screamed from the minute her lungs were clear.¬† She was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 inches long.
From the beginning Dani preferred her Daddy.  At first this bugged me, but Dani and I grew to have our own relationship, too.  
Dani was my first child that had to have surgery.  Her tonsils and adenoids were removed just 2 weeks after her 3rd birthday.  But it made all the difference in my little girl.  She had adenoids so big they limited her ability to breathe properly and get adequate rest while sleeping.  Once removed, it was like I had a completely different girl every morning!
Dani lives in the present and it’s a quality I have always loved about her.¬† Dani is the sort of child who has never tried to be older than she is.¬† No matter what Dani’s PRESENT STATE is…she has a blast in it.¬† She has such a sweet and unassuming disposition.
I remember towards the end of First grade last year, I heard Dani telling Helen and her cousin, Mary, what was planned for the month of May.¬† She said, “I am going to have the most exciting May in 1st grade.¬† I have a couple of days that I don’t have to wear my uniform.¬† And we get to go to a day at the K and the Royals game.¬† I am just SO excited to be in First grad in May!” And she had the most excited, happy face.¬†¬†
When Dominic was born, there was an instant connection between Dani and him.¬† To this day, I have to be on my toes and stop Dani from doing things for Dominic (so that he can learn to do them himself).¬† They play all sorts of games together.¬† Dani has been Dominic’s biggest fan while we’ve been potty-training him.¬† Dani was the first family member’s name Dominic said and recognized.¬† They have a very sweet relationship.
Dani often thinks of others.¬† When there was a severe storm that blew through our area during the day last spring, it was the first time such a thing happened when I was away from my children (I was at work, they were at school).¬† That evening, Dani came to me and said, “Mommy, there was a storm today.¬† I was very worried about you.¬† I was worried that you didn’t have a safe shelter to go to in the storm.”¬† After assuring her that I had a safe place to go while at work, I gave her a big hug and told her how it had pained me to be away from them during the storm.¬† I was glad they had a safe place to be, too.¬† But I was very touched by her innocent projection of her fears and her concern for me.¬†¬† She often takes care of Helen like a good big sister ūüôā
Some other braggable bits:¬† Dani is a speed-reader.¬† I have been amazed at how many pages per day the child reads.¬† When I questioned the reading log entry of 87 pages the other day, Dani informed me that she reads when she gets done with her work at school (while waiting for others to finish), she reads during D.E.A.R. time and she reads when she gets home from school.¬† I decided that until she starts having trouble with the comprehension questions, I won’t doubt her ability!¬† Dani’s a terrific speller and loves math, too.¬† She has a blast in Music and she’s quite an artist.¬† When Dani was in first grade, she checked out a library book that taught her how to draw cartoon characters and she taught herself how to draw three different cartoon characters with no guidance or assistance (that I knew of) from any adults.¬† Incidentally, Dani is my left-handed child…I love seeing evidence of the left-hand/right-brained creativity thing going on!
I pray that she will always have her sweet personality and her desire to put others first.

And, of course, I hope she has a wonderful 8th birthday today!