My Real Life

February 23, 2013

Celebrating 12!

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am

And so we come to the last, which was really the very first, of the birthdays we celebrate in February.

Today, my Monkey Girl turns 12.

I really don’t know how this is possible.

How the sweet little girl with the lisp who sucked her thumb and picked her nose during pre-school concerts turned into the beautiful, confident, amazing girl I see before me.

There is no one quite like my Monkey Girl.

She is sweet.  She is kind.  She is brilliant.  She is funny.  She is creative.  She is sensitive.  She is strong.

She is my role model.

I love her beyond words and we share a connection that is indescribable.

My girl.

My heart.

Happy 12th Birthday to my precious Monkey Girl.  I am so very proud of who you have been, who you have become and who I know you will be.

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February 20, 2013

Celebrating 2!

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am

I didn’t actually think I was pregnant when I took that test in June 2010.

I didn’t feel well and hadn’t for a few days and so I was just ruling it out.

I honestly didn’t think I was pregnant.

A few months earlier, my doctor had come around her desk, sat on the edge and told me in a sad voice that I would never be able to have any more children due to some medical issues I was having.

We certainly weren’t planning on having any more kids, as Baby Monkey was a surprise, himself, and three seemed to be all we could handle.

I was sad, though, because that’s a decision that I wanted us to make.

I don’t like having decisions made for me.

However, the three babies we had were amazing babies, and so we were fine with it.

Except, I always had that nagging feeling that we weren’t quite complete, but I accepted what was.

Then, I took that test.

I walked it into the office where Real Man was on the computer and showed him.

He stared at me, I stared at him.

I walked back out of the room and we didn’t talk about it again for two days.

Four kids.

Four kids.

I’m a working mother, and I was doing okay balancing work and home with three kids, but four sounded impossible.

The three we had were fantastic.  Were we tempting fate with a fourth?

I was going to be 40 in a year.

Four kids.

I was scared and nervous, but I was happy and over those two days the happy outgrew the nervousness, and Real Man and I were over the moon.

The pregnancy was scary.

I tested borderline positive for Down Syndrome, and we decided we didn’t care.  This was our baby.

Late in my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with placenta accretia and there were conversations that included words like “make plans,” “save the child,” “get your will in order.”

Even while we were waiting for me to be wheeled into the ER, the doctor and the anesthesiologist were arguing over the best way to proceed and they explained to Real Man what would happen based on what they would find when they went in, and they said things like, “…at that time, we will escort you from the room and will make every effort we can to save your wife.”

But, then it was over and he was here and He. Is. Amazing.

And I’d do every single second of it all over again.

He is a character.

He is a ham.

He is a love.

He is, and always will be, my baby.

Happy Birthday, Tiny!  The past two years with you have been absolutely unbelievable.  The world is definitely a better place with you in it.



February 15, 2013

Celebrating 9

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am

9 Years.

I had a little girl, and then, 9 years ago, I had a little boy.

Right from minute one, he has been a serious, serious guy.

But a bigger lovey has never been born.

He is a complex guy, my Monkey in the Middle.

He’s a worrier, a stresser, a snuggler, a thinker, a sporter, a laugher, a goofball, and a sweetheart.

Sometimes being all of those things is too much for him to handle, and so we just love him through the tough times and celebrate with him in the happy times.

He’s got the golden touch, and he excels at everything he tries.

I’ve come to believe that there really is nothing that he can’t do.

I can’t wait to find out what he decides to do in his life.

He has a smile that goes from ear to ear and a double dimple that will break girls hearts.

I love this boy.

I love this boy so much, it makes my heart ache.

So, I wish the Happiest of Birthdays to my Monkey in the Middle.

9 is going to be a great year!

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February 11, 2013

Celebrating 7

Filed under: Birthdays,Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Today is Baby Monkey’s birthday, and today he turns 7.

I love this kid more than I could ever actually put into words.

There’s just something about him that oozes coolness.

You never know what you’ll get when he walks into the room, but you know it’s gonna be awesome.

Whether he’s in a Batman or SpiderMan costume.

Whether he has construction paper creations taped to his body.

Whether he has made some intricate Lego creation.

Whether he has created some type of crane or device with a grappling hook.

No matter what, it’s pure him.

Now, he’s 7, and I want to take today and celebrate everything that he is.

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet boy.

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February 26, 2012

Just One More

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

Okay, so the monkeys are not the only February birthdays we have in this family.

We also sneak in my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my mother.

That makes 7 February birthdays in an extended family of 27.

Just about 1/4 of the birthdays for the year in one month.

This year, my Mom turned 70.

And this year, I took a gamble, and decided to surprise her with the surprise party she has always said she would kill us if we threw her.

Because, the lady dosh protest too much, methinks.

Or, in English, (or, at least,  the English most normal people, who don’t go about quoting Hamlet, use), I think she was lying.

So, I played sneaky squirrel, enlisted my Dad’s help with the guest list and addresses and went to work.

I’m not embarrassed to pat myself on the back about this whole shindig.

It is not easy keeping a secret like this from the woman who spends a good part of each day in my house.

She even gets our mail, and I thought our cover was blown when one of the guests RSVP’d by mail instead of by phone.

However, I played it cool and let my inner Meryl Streep shine and fudged my way out of that one.

I have to say, I think it was a success.

Here’s the progression of surprise as she walked in the door.

And, although it will take you seconds to look at this, believe me when I tell you, she made this face and didn’t speak for a good three minutes.

I kinda thought she might be having a stroke or something, at one point.

However, she eventually smiled and enjoyed herself.

And, later, when I asked if she was mad, she answered “Only a little bit.”

So, the final birthday of February was a success, and now…

I rest.

February 25, 2012

Birthday Season Wrap Up

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

As so, as we come to the end of February, all of my babies are now one year older.

Thought I’d share some of the birthday fun with you, through photos.


February 23, 2012


Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

Monkey Girl is 11 today.

I strongly urge you to go back and read my post about her from two years ago (found here) because I think I said it well.

And the pictures of her are adorable.

The truth is, I can’t say enough about her.

From the moment the doctor said “Oh my God!  She’s huge!” instead of “It’s a girl!” I’ve been in love with her.

She is an amazing human being.

I love her so much, she makes my heart ache.

Happy Birthday to my precious eleven year old today.

Mama loves you.

February 20, 2012

One Year Old

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

I find it impossible to believe, but today, my baby is 1.

The baby that entered our lives unexpectedly and changed our world in ways we could have never imagined.

The child that consistently brings out the best in his siblings.

The baby that keeps us young.

The ham that gives a big cheesy smile whenever a camera is pulled out.

The kid that moves and crawls and pulls himself up and leaves me shaking my head saying, “But he was just born yesterday!”

Today my baby is one, and I am so very, very grateful to have this smush of a lovebug in my life.

(You can check out my first posts about this boy here and here.)

February 18, 2012

Slumber Party

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 11:10 am
Tags: , ,

It’s good to know that no matter how times change, some things never will.

Like slumber parties.

Don’t get me wrong…

There were some differences.

Like the texting and the cell phones.

But other than that, it could have been a slumber party from my youth.

Monkey Girl has really, really nice friends and they got along beautifully.

We kept it small, and I believe that helped keep everyone happy.

There were teeny-bopper magazines, some dancing, some singing, and just general girl talk.

Monkey in the Middle was policing the event, for awhile, and at one point, came upstairs, shaking his head and mumbling “Inappropriate language.”

We asked what he was talking about and he put his hands over his ears and said, “The girls are using inappropriate language.”

I was a little a surprised, because that’s really not the M.O. of these girls, so I asked “What are they saying?”

He leaned in close and whispered, “They said ‘stupid’ and ‘idiot.'”

I breathed a sigh of relief and then said, “You are right…that is definitely inappropriate language.  Thanks for letting us know.”

There were Mad Libs, and snacks, pizza, sundaes, and four clogged toilets.

As the hours passed, we kept waiting for the volume to lessen, but it didn’t.

So, I began the first of a few treks to the top of the basement stairs to let them know that, perhaps, it was time to wind down.

Real Man and I stayed in the living room, alternately watching television and muting it to listen in on their conversations.

I held my breath when I heard someone say, “Let’s Play ‘Never Have I Ever!'”

I breathed again when I heard them saying things like, “Never Have I Ever eaten five pieces of pizza!”

And then we laughed out loud when we heard Monkey Girl, who does not have a cell phone or iTouch and has been making the hard case for one since the summer, say “Never Have I Ever owned an Apple product.”

By 1:30, there were just a few whispers left, and the sounds of sleeping girls took over the rest of the basement, so we headed up to bed.

And at 6:30, the peals of 10/11 year old girl laughter began to ring out throughout the house, once again.

They got some doughnuts in their system and were ready for an hour long game of Sardines, which, (for the uninitiated), is Hide-and-Seek, but only one person hides.  If you find them, you hide with them.  When the next person finds the two of you, they hide with you, etc., until there is only one seeker left.

Then, there was about an hour of regular Hide-and-Seek.

The boys played with them, and the girls were sweet to pretend not to see Baby Monkey as he hid in super secret hiding spots, like under the coffee table, or just stood really still, apparently thinking he was being stalked by a group of T-Rexes (who, as ANYONE who has seen Jurassic Park knows, can’t see you if you don’t move).

And then there was Tiny Time.

They all sat in a circle in our empty dining room and just kind of passed Tiny around.

He loved it and did some of his best flirting.

Then, the girls got distracted with one of his toys and decided to play hot potato.  That lasted for about 45 minutes.

And then, they rolled up their sleeping bags, got dressed and said their goodbyes.

The house will is quieter without them, but I’ll miss those girls.

Maybe it’s the teacher in me who is used to never having less than 25 kids around me at all times, or maybe it’s the Mama in me who loves a house full of happy, laughing children.

But I enjoyed that slumber party just as much as Monkey Girl did.

I’d go down to check on them and come up with a big, stupid (forgive my language, Monkey in the Middle) grin on my face.  Real Man would ask what I was grinning about and I’d say “Just the slumber party.  They seem to be having a really good time.”

No one cried, had hurt feelings, got sick, had their underwear frozen or their hand dipped in warm water.

And really..what more can you ask for?

February 15, 2012

8…So Great!

Filed under: Birthdays — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

I have this boy.

You can see some of his remarkable cuteness here and the story of how he joined us here.

He’s 8 today.

He’s pretty spectacular.

He keeps changing on me, and in the past few months, I’m beginning to see glimpses of the man he is going to be.

He’s full of love and emotion.

He cares deeply about others and stands up when someone is wronged.

He loves rules and order and structure, but is just as silly as the rest of the monkeys when the mood strikes him.

He’s a sweetheart and a good boy and he just keeps growing.

I’m so proud of this guy and the person he is becoming.

We’ve had a bit of a rough go of it, he and I, but we’ve always find our way back to each other and now we’re better than ever.

We’re a team, he and I.

I love this kid.

More than he could ever possibly know.

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