Dear Dominic

Dear Dominic,
Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you are 5 years old today. 5! Five! 
There’s just something about turning 5. You are old enough to go to school in the fall–not just preschool…though that’s fun and you enjoy that. But “real school” as you call it. 
I wanted to document some of the things I love about you today. You probably won’t read this now, but maybe someday in the future you will.
I love your heart. You are so very sweet. And kind. And considerate. You love people with the kind of love that even most adults can’t feel or show for others. 
I love your brain. You’re smart and witty. I think you get the “witty” mostly from your dad. You amaze me every day with your love of everything you learn. You basically taught yourself to read and now you nag me to “work on my math” and when I bring up the preschool math games, you tell me, “No mom…addition and subtraction — THAT is what I am trying to work on.” Your reasoning ability is far beyond what we’ve experienced with the other kids at this age and often we just throw up our hands not knowing whether we should be amazed or just laugh. (Often we do both.)
I love how you are the spitting image of your dad. It’s fun to watch you and think — I bet Craig did/said that sort of thing when he was that age. 
I love your obsession with Angry Birds. And with Star Wars. And with Angry Birds Star Wars. I’m a big Star Wars fan, so it tickles me that we have that in common and I can’t wait to see what else we have in common, as you grow up.
I love your cautious optimism. You are positive much of the time, but you’re cautious, too. You believe you can do things, but you understand it will take effort sometimes. And you’re pretty good at gauging whether the effort is worth it in the end.
Five years ago today was one of the five most joyous days of my life. I remember within 20 minutes of your birth, my doctor asked if another doctor could observe the birth — it would be her first. I remember thinking, “huh, fine time to ask as I’m getting ready to push!” but I didn’t object. And then, I remember within the minute you were born, our doctor said, “Gosh, you guys are so amazing!” 
And really…it is you, sweet boy…you are amazing. Every encounter you have makes someone smile, I think. I remember when we visited my sister when you were only just about 2 years old and she said, “Gosh, you just have to experience Dominic, don’t you?” And what she meant, I think, was that words won’t do you justice. Gosh, here I am trying to do justice to you with words, anyway.
Yesterday, I walked past you in the hallway on my way to Helen’s basketball practice. I stopped in front of you, gave you a hug and told you to “have fun!” and “I love you.” As I walked away, my heart burst with joy and pride at the tone of your voice as you spoke to a friend in the hallway and said, “That was my mommy.” The words by themselves were not what was touching me, but it was the way you said it. I could feel your love for me in the words you said. And I didn’t even have to look at you to feel that. And that’s how you are 24/7 and I love it.

How could I feel any more blessed than I do having you for a son?

Happy Birthday.

Your incredibly overrun-with-pride Mommy.



My Little Buddy is 4 Years Old Today!

Happy Birthday, Dominic!

Four years ago, you were born on a snowy, wintery day. You are my first son. From the minute they left you alone on the warmer, and you were alert, but quiet, and you draped your leg over the edge like you were just “hanging out, dude”… from that moment, I knew you were a laid back kid. I had a hunch you would be “just like your daddy” and you really are in so many respects.

 For starters, you’re the spittin’ image:

All of my boys in Nov 2012
Dominic at 3 years 11 months


I have been known to say that I carried you in my womb for 9+ months, but that’s pretty much the only obvious way to tell you’re not a Craig-Clone. 🙂

But not only are you a look-alike model of your daddy, you are compassionate and sweet and oh-so-smart! You have a wit that most people would die for. You find the perfect opportunity to say something funny and you make people laugh. You are happy and full of beautiful life!

You have taught me so much.

You started preschool this year…wow!

Dominic all ready for his 1st day of preschool!
Dominic with his preschool teacher

You have such a way with people and it’s amazing because you are so young!  You like to make faces…

Dominic’s “Home Alone” face

Dominic’s pensive look
You enjoy yourself and you are a pretty cool cat…

I could never have imagined all the blessings bestowed on our family because you are here. You’re a wonderful baby brother to your sisters and a loving big bro to Vincent. You’re a sensitive boy who avoids getting in trouble or having to sit in time-out. 

You have the sweetest demeanor about you…

yes, it seems like it is ALL. THE. TIME.
Happy Birthday, Little Buddy.  
Your mommy loves you more than you could ever know.  
You’re gonna knock ’em dead as a 4-year-old!

Pre Teen Cuteness

My last post kind of stuck in my craw for a bit. I don’t like writing about the hard parts of having children. I don’t like acknowledging publicly that I have a hard time with these crazy pre-adolescent years. But the fact of the matter remains that it’s a big unknown for me, and just like the ages that come before, there will be parts that I like, parts that I could do without and overall, I’ll be glad when the teenage years for each of my children are finished.

So, there are a few cute things I have noticed lately that I wanted to share.  Namely, how cute is it that Sarah has a crush on someone? 

Quick Side note:  It was NEVER considered “cute” to have a crush on a boy in my house when I was growing up.  I had crushes on boys but I NEVER admitted it publicly where my parents were concerned.  They were always adamant that I “didn’t know what I was talking about” when it came to my feelings for boys.  They could never see a crush for what it was — a crush.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I thought a boy was cute, I was way too shy to talk to him face-to-face, but was thrilled to have a regular phone conversation with one boy during 7th grade. When  my mom found out that I actually liked the boy that was calling the house every evening,  she did a lot to try and persuade herself – and in due course – me that there was nothing serious about it, it didn’t mean anything, it was just silly childhood games, etc.  Of course, looking back, I don’t necessarily see my parents’ attitudes on the subject as the most healthy way to address it with me, therefore, I have chosen a different tactic with my Sarah, so far.

Sarah has a crush.  She admitted as much on Instagram one day.  I informed my sisters and Craig.  Then I asked Sarah if she realized she’d been rather public with her declaration — to the point that her mom and dad knew who and all that stuff.  She affirmed her knowledge of this fact and left it at that.  She’s pretty private that way.

As the kids get older, I am always looking for those things where I can relate to them a little bit.  Even though their lives are their own, their experiences are their own, I want to be able to remember what it was like to be in that place.  I realize that I, too, experienced some of those things (the good and the bad unfortunately) and try to walk with my children through these times in their lives. 

So, I have to admit that knowing Sarah has this crush on a boy thrills me in that part of my heart that yearns for similarity with my daughter. I remember my crushes when I was 11 and 12 and 13 and….well, you get the picture.  I remember being too shy to talk to anyone about it.  I remember how my heart pounded when I got phone calls. 

I also remember how my heart felt when the boy that called me during 7th grade told me that he wasn’t going to call me anymore.  Interestingly enough, as I look back, I realize that I got over that pretty quick, but I do remember that little twinge I felt at rejection.

And so…there’s that.

Another thing that really warms my heart recently is how much love is being shown to my 3-year-old Dominic.  He is in preschool at our parish school so he has the opportunity to interact with the boys in Sarah’s class.  And they sure do seem to enjoy him a lot. 

Here are a few of the things:

1.  Sarah told me that the kids in her class have her bring Dominic to where they can see him as they pass through the hall to go to their carline in the afternoons after school.  They like to wave at him.  I have no idea what shenanigans he is doing as they wave and call to him, but I’m sure he’s entertaining them somehow.

2.  When we got out of Mass Saturday, Dominic left the pew and received hugs from one girl in Sarah’s class, then another girl came up and asked Dominic for a hug, too.  He then paraded around the parish hall getting high fives and hugs from older kids in the school who were at Mass.

3. I was checking stuff on the Sycamore site for school. They have a section that says “blogs” that is NOTHING like a real blog. Anyway, one of the boys posted this:

My son – a boss, LOL

4.  And finally, Sarah has been collecting Dominic’s autographs for kids in her class which cracks me up.  I am not sure which I find more interesting – the fact that Dominic is able to write his own name so well or the fact that a bunch of 11 and 12-year-old kids want a copy of it.  Additionally, she’s been taking lots of pictures of Dominic and putting together cute pictures collages of him. 

Here is one:

What warms my heart the most is that she is spending quality time with her 3-year-old brother (okay, he’s almost 4 now) and they have a lot of fun together. 
That’s really cute.

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.”  🙂

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!


The 2-year-old wins (for now)

Mommy:  “Dominic, you stink!  Let’s go upstairs and Mommy will change your diaper.”
Dominic:  “I not ‘tink!  Mus’ chan’e my bye-per!”
(While changing said stinky diaper…)
Mommy:  “Dominic, it’s time for you to stop going poopy in your diaper.  You need to go pee-pee and poopy in the potty.  This is gross.  Don’t you want to wear your Toy Story 3 ‘Big Boy’ Underwear’?”

Dominic:  “No.”

Mommy:  “Do you want some Spiderman ‘Big Boy’ Underwear?”
Dominic:  “No.”
Mommy:  “Do you want some Superman Underwear?”
Dominic:  “No.”
Mommy:  “How about some Blue’s Clues underwear?”
Dominic:  “No.”

Mommy:  (Sighs) “Well, Dominic, what kind of underwear do you want?”

Dominic:  “I want my bye-per!”

Of course you do. 

"Carry You, Momma"

Dominic’s language progression is about as normal as my other kids.  Some things have come a little fast, others not as fast, but overall, he’s learned to communicate with us rather well at this point (he is just about 30 months old).
One of the cutest things he says is, “Wah-nah Cay-wee You, Mom-ma!”  (I want to carry you, Momma.)
This is what he says when he wants me to pick him up and hold him.  I thought perhaps this little “-ism” of his had gone by the wayside because I couldn’t recall hearing it all that often lately.  But tonight as he was laying in bed, trying not to go to sleep, crying for me, I went in there and he said, “Cay-wee you.  Cay-wee you.”
So, I picked him up and held him and swayed with him.  Moments like that kind of get to me.  Especially with another baby on the way.  Pretty soon, Dominic won’t be the baby.  I mean, he’ll always be MY baby, and all that stuff.  But his world is about to be rocked as someone new and smaller joins this family and starts taking the lion’s share of my attention (in his eyes).  
It also made me think of what he was saying.  Even though he wants ME to hold/carry HIM, his language skills don’t convey that message and he says that HE wants to hold/carry ME.
It kind of made me think of how my prayer life goes at times.  Sometimes, when I’m praying to God about my struggles and my worries, I feel like I’m trying to place them at the Lord’s feet…but my words are all about me and how I can help myself…what I need to do, what I want to happen.  Sure, I often tack on, “oh, but THY WILL BE DONE, oh Lord!”  But do I really mean that?  In reality, am I still trying to do everything myself and solve all my own problems and get my way in everything?  Am I trying to convey, “Carry me, Lord” but incapable, due to my human state…so instead, I’m saying, “I’ll carry you, Lord” when that’s so incredibly impossible?  I mean, how often am I communicating with the Lord as though I am a simple 2-year-old who can’t quite comprehend and definitely can’t communicate what she wants?
I had to go back into Dominic’s room a second time tonight, which is rare.  Usually, I don’t have to go in and hold him at all…he usually lays right down and falls asleep quickly.  But, I went back in as he called for me, “Mommy.  Mommy.”  I laid my head on his pillow.  I reminded him where he was going tomorrow and that he’d be able to play with his friends.  
And then I asked him…”Do you love me?” and of course he responded, “Yes.”  And I told him I loved him and good night.  I didn’t hear any more from him after that.  I don’t typically ask my children that question.  Sometimes they offer up an “I love you” or they say it in response to my declaration for them.  I really don’t know what prompted me to ask it of my 2-year-old tonight, but for some reason, the words came out.

And even that exchange reminded me of my relationship with God, at times.  Sometimes I wonder if He feels like He must ask me, “Do you love me?” 

The Broken Leg

Last night, I came home from work and was greeted by all of my children with hugs and kisses (well, except Sarah who said, “Hey Mom” and proceeded to behave like a 9-almost-10-year-old…but anyway), and I hung up my coat, dropped my bag at the door and proceeded to have a blast with Dominic.  We were on the couch and we played “The Kissing Game.”  This is where he gives me kiss after kiss and then I tickle him over and over again.  It was so much fun.
A little bit after that, he was in the other room and he came walking into the living room where I was (still) sitting on the couch holding his arm.  He had the beginnings of tears in his eyes and he said, “Heh-ehn hi– me” (Helen hit me).  So, Helen got in timeout, which incidentally led to the tears in Dominic’s eyes drying right up before they spilled over and him toddling off to continue to play.
As I was getting dinner, I heard Dominic crying.  Typically, when he falls or hurts himself, he’ll come and get me if it’s bad.  So I waited.  But then I heard him still crying so I asked Craig to go and get him (I was putting dinner on the table).  From what we could surmise, Dominic had fallen, but no one had seen it so no one knew what he’d done and he wouldn’t stand up on his own.  Craig held him for a bit and he fell asleep, so we put him in bed.
This morning, we found out that school was closed for a snow day, but I intended to take Dominic to daycare so Craig could rest and the girls could probably handle getting breakfast, cleaning up their rooms and hanging out together until he got up.  When I went to get Dominic dressed, he wouldn’t put any weight on his right foot.  Ultimately, Craig and I decided I should take him to Children’s Mercy Hospital ER since whatever happened had happened the previous night and it’s kind of serious that your 2-year-old won’t put any weight on his leg.
Off to the hospital we went.  They checked us in, and I was really glad I’d brought his immunization record as they kept asking if all his vaccinations were up to date.  They initially thought they’d localized the injury to the hip area because they could move his lower leg without causing him much pain until they would affect the hip area.  When they X-rayed, at first they didn’t notice much and they started telling me that there is some sort of infection kids can get in a joint about a week after a cold (Dominic had a little congestion/conjunctivitis that we’d treated with over-the-counter meds last week). 
The doctor came in another time and started putting pressure on Dominic’s legs in different places and a closer look at the X-ray revealed a slight (they termed it hairline) fracture at the bottom of his Tibia.  They called it a Toddler Fracture or Toddler Break and they said it was common.  Well…not common to me!  This is our first broken bone in four kids!  Apparently, when toddlers run around, sometimes they make a movement and with the right pressure, it can cause this type of fracture.

The good doctors and nurses got us a “Wee Walker” which is a boot for toddlers to wear and he didn’t need a cast or anything.   We had to use an Ace bandage over it because Dominic was trying to take the boot off the minute they put it on!

They gave us a prescription for pain medicine.  And he sat on the couch the rest of the afternoon watching Super Why and Dora the Explorer.  We went to our parish’s Spaghetti Dinner tonight and he sat there without complaint for the three hours we were there.  Seriously…for my son to sit there and not complain and try to get down and move around is a miracle and it means his leg REALLY HURTS.  😦

He’s in bed now…in his Superman pajamas…and his boot.  Poor baby.
I guess I’m glad it’s just a small thing in the grand scheme of things.  A girl in the stall next to us (she sounded like she was 6 or 7 years old) had a break somewhere that they had to re-break and I cried for her not even knowing her as I heard her screaming and pleading, “Is it over yet?”  Oh my…I prayed for her and then I prayed that nothing like that needed to be done to Dominic.

I think from now on, I’ll probably go running when I hear him fall or cry.  Well, at least for awhile.  I wish I’d noticed right when it happened that he needed to go to the hospital.  But I guess it helped out that we waited until today so Craig didn’t call in to work.  Interesting how that sort of stuff works out.