4 Golden Eggs

4 Golden Eggs
our children

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cape Ann ~ Gloucester, Massachusetts in Winter

In yesterday's post I promised photos of our afternoon in Cape Ann. We went to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. It is located along the northern coast of Massachusetts and is one of the earliest settlements (1623) in our fair state.
Our children are standing on the most prominent geological feature, a large rock sixty feet high and two hundred feet wide. It gives us panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding fishing village.

The waves gently break on smooth stones and trees grow out of the larger boulders above. There are winding trails through the rocks and a wonderful playground at the park near the large rock. Our children loved being in the rocks and woods above the sea.  Max found a hollow in an old tree and claimed it as his own. 

It was a quiet time there by the sea in winter. No snow on the ground but, cold enough to wear our winter gear. I found a nice piece of pale blue sea glass. I want to come back to this place again. There is something restorative about the sea for me. I love the smooth stones, the dragon art on a huge rock, the sea glass, the trees growing out of rocks and all the winding trails above the sea. Magical.  Healing really. 

Our children want to return too. I'm hoping the next warm and non-scheduled day to head back. Max can reclaim his tree home. Grant will fight the enemy. Ben and Charlotte will create imaginary scenarios and play them out and I will search for more sea glass and enjoy the solitude together with them. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hello again

Hello again my friends. I apologize for not blogging recently. So much has taken my time and attention elsewhere. 
My Beloved flew home for five days a few weeks ago and we spent those five days as best we could. He has been with his company for a year now and got a good review. He really likes what he does and the people he works with. They are salt of the earth people. What a blessing ~ both work and good people. We are thankful. We are also thankful that he got to come and spend part of winter break with us.
That means we spent time together as a family doing what our family loves the most. Going somewhere and doing something together.
The first full day with David, we went to Gloucester ~ to the sea. Cape Ann this winter is different. It's cold but, we had no snow yet and our children explored the rocks and trees right next to the sea. I will post photos of that in my next post. Our second day together we went here north of where we live. 

Because our weather had been so mild, no snow yet then, the woods gifted us with unique mushrooms and fungus. We hiked on fallen leaves and our children poked sticks into the icy edges of the river. We wandered holding hands again. We wandered watching our children play out imaginative games. We wandered as our dog would run off and back to us again. We breathed in the crisp, winter air and held tight to the warm hand in ours. It was timeless and lovely to be together as a family again. Priceless really.
Our friends offered to watch our children one night and David and I were able to have a quiet supper out together. Of course I wore heels! David dressed up too. What did we talk about besides the food? Our kids. We got to spend time with some of our friends at an evening Bible study in their home. They prayed for us and the sale of our home. We felt loved and loved in return.
David had one on one time with our oldest. They went to see the Star Wars movie in 3D. I had one on one time with one of my dearest friends. Even though it was raining cats and dogs, Miss Caragh and I talked until the Japanese restaurant closed. 
We went to our favorite used book store and our favorite second-hand store too. We had family meals together. We prayed together. We played together. We just were ~ together.
David fixed a leak under the kitchen sink. The dog got to sleep on our bed. Pup usually sleeps on the sofa in the living room. Life felt a little normal again. 
Our kids showed him their artwork, Lego creations, played baseball in our yard with Daddy, got piggy-back rides upstairs to bed each night. We caught up on bill paying and phone calls and grocery shopping. Five days fly by quickly. Too quickly. We signed our kids out of school early and drove David to the airport and prayed he have a safe journey back to Minnesota and that we will be together as a family soon. 
I remind myself that each day is one day closer to us being together again. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Heaviness of Life

My dear friend Mark...
We've known each other since High School. He is a year younger than me. We were in the same Drama class and had the same friends. When our school performed the musical Snoopy, I was Lucy Van Pelt and he played my little brother Linus. We were close. 
I was the last of five children and always longed for a little brother. He was the oldest of two boys and always longed for a big sister.
We were that for each other.
Mark became a hero. He is a firefighter, an engineer and paramedic. He saves lives every day. Mark married Stephanie, the love of his life. They have two sons Sean and Dillon. 
Stephanie is golden. She loves people, her animals and the outdoors. She is the type of person who others are drawn to. Strong, intelligent, joyful and determined. 
When Mark met Stephanie years ago, he was so smitten. He called to tell me about this beautiful girl he had just met. 
A few years later I was at their wedding. They glowed. One could tell that this would be a marriage that would last. They were tender and kind with each other. Respectful.
Life was good. Then. 
Stephanie was diagnosed with anal cancer. 

A few days ago this is what Mark wrote:
Thanks to all. The boys and I know and appreciate all of the Support, Blessings and Love. Stephanie  has had a very challenging(to say the least) Adventure Race. She is nearing the end of this journey calmly but with periods of fight. I don't know where the finish line is for her but its near. Please continue thinking and praying for her and use her strength as an example for you in your every endeavor. Kiss hug and Love your children always. I will try to continue updating as I can. Summas Exicutio Subter Quivas Status.

We prayed. 

We prayed more. Then yesterday we got the news...

Stephanie lost her battle with Anal Cancer today at Noon. The Boys and I want to thank everyone for the incredible support and love we have received.

Please remember Mark and their young sons Sean and Dillon in your prayers.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Sometimes I really look at my life. You know, those moments when time slows down and I see what is memorable. It usually happens when I'm not searching for it. 
Often I am focused on just getting through the day doing the things that all good moms are supposed to do. I am focused on making sure our children are safe, fed, clothed, loved and hopefully learning something. I am usually so focused on the menial tasks of the day that I don't take the time to really see. 

It's those moments when I just am and not trying to be that time slows and I actually see the beauty in my life. I am so thankful. I know we all have gone through tough times. Times of loss, times of grief, times of injury and even illness. None of us are immune to the human experience. 
I have held dying children in my arms. I have lost my own. I have grieved because of years of infertility. I know what I have. I know how God has blessed me and I don't take it for granted. I appreciate what I have. It was a very painful and long journey to have what I have. I cherish my life. 
I cherish our children. Yes, they are a lot of work. Yes, they push me to my limits. Yes, sometimes I worry about who they will become. Yes, they bring me to my breaking point at times. I know some adults who do the same.
Having four children so close in age is a lot of work. There is always something to clean, wash, fix, do, teach, pick up, make. There are hugs to give, tears to wipe away, matching socks to find, decisions to make, books to read, words to define, food to make, projects to do and clean up. 
The times they remember and love the most are the times when we are not doing but, rather being. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sick Days

 Last week our oldest was sent home from school sick. Grant has had a cough for a long time but, no real other symptoms. Last Wednesday was the day he threw up in the van on the way to the doctor's office. It was the day we waited in the exam room for a long time and barely made it home in time for the school bus to drop off our triplets. That night it snowed.

Grant was diagnosed with an ear infection and pneumonia. Treatment: 10 days of amoxicillin two times a day.
We made it through the weekend. Grant started feeling a little better. He stayed inside while Max, Charlotte, and Ben played in the snow.
Monday was a school holiday. We went out and had the unfortunate adventure with the cat (see last post). We ate supper at Denny's and by the time I was tucking them all into their inflatable beds that night, Max, Charlotte and Ben were complaining of headaches, feeling sick and ears hurting. 
Ben said he couldn't hear out of his left ear. I called the school absent line Tuesday morning and left a message for all four of our children. Then I called the pediatrician again and we were back in the doctor's office. Diagnosis for the triplets: ear infections.
Treatment: Amoxicillin for 10 days two times a day. Our co-pay for each visit per child: $40. Total for four kids to see the doctor: $160. Ouch!
On our way home we stopped by the pharmacy again. This is what it takes to treat four ear infections and pneumonia in our house. The children line up and I pour out the medicine and they drink it. A 10 day routine. Twice a day.
We have lived in our pajamas for two days. Oh, and I've been fighting Lyme disease, a bad respiratory infection and I broke my toe. 
The nice things about sick days:
I get to spend more time with my children.
We've been watching the original Dennis the Menace on Netflix. The kids love it. I tell them, "don't get any ideas!"

I have a new obsession with Pinterest (an online pin board ~ eye candy really). You can check out my boards here.
I get to stay in my cozy fleece pajamas and a knitted hat my sister Trese made for me, and my fuzzy knee-high socks.
I get to sip hot tea and sit in front of the fireplace and blog.
Today Grant, Max and Charlotte made it to school. The medicine is working.
Ben is by my side playing with LEGO bricks.
He needs another "day off". He says, "I'm not 100% yet." 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One of Those Unpredictable Days

It has been one of those days that goes somewhere completely different than planned.
And at the end of the day you are thankful for sweet strangers. Today was one of those days.

The day began simple enough. It's MLK day and the kids had the day off from school. After morning breakfast and cleaning up we decided to go to two of our favorite stores. Savers and our Discount Book Superstore. Both stores were having big sales today. 
We strap in and head north to New Hampshire. The "Live Free or Die" state with no sales tax. 
On the road ahead of us is a cat struggling to move. It has obviously been struck by a car. We all see the cat. The kids see it too. A truck ahead of us pulls over; I pull over and turn the hazard lights on; a lady in a car behind us pulls over. I tell the kids to stay put and buckled in.
I run back to the cat. The lady behind me runs back to the cat. The man in front of us doesn't.
The lady lifts the cat from the road. I wave my arms to oncoming cars to slow down and move away a bit. I then help her carry the cat to the side of the road. It is a beautiful cat. We both call it a "her" and "she" and then we speak very little. The cat's right eye is hanging out of it's orbit. It's tongue is out of it's mouth. Seeing the cat is disturbing. But it is still alive.
I notice the lady is wearing a white uniform and a name tag. Carol (and her last name), LPN engraved on her tag. I am a nurse too. We two caring, nurturing women can not bear to see this cat suffer in the road. 
The man slowly approaches us. He doesn't speak. 
Carol and I notice a collar on the cat. She says that there is a phone number. I run back to the van and grab my cell phone. The cat is still alive. 
We have the silent man read off the phone number as I dial.
An answering machine picks up and not a warm, personal message but, a cold, computer-like voice asks me to leave a message. I do.
Then Carol lays the cat down in the snow. It doesn't move but, it is still alive.
We three stand there silently looking at the injured cat. Then Carol and I reach down and pick the cat back up.
Carol and I agree that the cat needs help. I tell Carol that I have four young children in my van and that I really don't want them to be traumatized by the way the cat looks. 
She says that she is on her way to work.
We both look at the silent man. He says nothing.
I say, "Okay, I'll take the cat to the animal hospital."
Then I turn to the silent man and ask, "Did you hit the cat?"
He says nothing but, shakes his head slightly. 
Then Carol hugs me and then she hugs him and says something about being good people. 
Then Carol and I carry the cat to my van. I tell the children not to look at the cat.
Carol is careful to lay the cat gently down in the back of my van and mentions something about being careful in case there is a spinal injury.
The cat is still alive.
My children do not look over the back seat to see the cat. They have remained buckled in.  They are quiet.  Charlotte is covering her ears. Max has his head down. 
So off I drive with a dying cat in the back of our van.
I call 411 and request the animal hospital number. I am transferred to a lovely lady named Anne at the hospital.

Anne and I have an interesting conversation. It goes something like this.
Me:  "Hi, I'm Rebecca. A cat was struck by a car and three of us pulled over to help. It is injured. It has a collar with a phone number and I've left a message for the owners. It needs medical attention. It is alive but, has an eye out of a socket and it's bleeding from the eye and it's mouth. What should I do?"
Anne:  "Has the cat been seen here before? What is the cat's name?"
Me:  "No. You don't understand. It is not my cat. I don't know the cat's name. I don't know who owns the cat.  We just couldn't leave the cat to die in the snow by the side of the road. It needs help. I have the cat in the back of my van right now. The cat looks well cared for and is probably loved by it's owner."
Anne:  "Oh. Okay. Hold on. I need to talk to the Vet. Where are you now?"
Me:  "I'm on my way to the hospital across from the mall where you are."
Anne:  "We are in Merrimack but, I'm sure that animal hospital can help you. Hold on."
I wait.

Anne comes back and tells me that their vet says that I would be responsible for the cost of treating the injured cat until the owners are notified and that even then, the owners may not want to treat the cat or may not be able to pay.
At this point, I am now at the animal hospital across from the mall. 
No one is there. They are closed for the holiday.
I let Anne know and she suggests the All Pets Veterinary Hospital  about 12 miles away.
Anne and I talk about the ethical dilemma I am now in. 
I couldn't bear to leave the cat by the side of the road. If someone came across one of my injured pets and cared for them, I would be so thankful. We have no money right now. I can't pay to treat this injured cat. What will I do if it dies?
Anne tells me that she is pretty sure that the All Pets Veterinary Hospital will take the cat. She gives me directions and their phone number.
I drive to the All Pets Veterinary Hospital. 
I leave the cat in the van and go in.
I tell the edited story to the front desk gal Nina and an assistant Eunice. They listen. 
Then Eunice says she will talk to their veterinarian. She comes back and tells me to call the Police Department.
The Police Department? Now, I'm thinking I'm in trouble!
Do they think I hit the cat?

Then she explains that the Animal Control Officer is at the Police Station and he will tell me what to do with the cat.
I call the Police Dept. and talk to the receptionist. She tells me that the animal control officer only deals with dogs, not cats.
Eunice is now on the phone calling the owner of the All Pets Veterinary Hospital. 
Moments later Eunice and I are walking out to my van to get the cat. The cat is still warm. She lifts him gently and carries him quickly inside. I feel relieved. Finally! It's been about 40 minutes since we found the cat on the road.
My children are now playing with the toys in the corner. 
Eunice comes back and gives me that look that says something or someone has died. I nod my head.
Eunice tells me that the Humane Society will have possession of the cat and gives me a phone number.
I call the phone number on the cat's collar again. I tell the machine that the cat will be at the Humane Society and leave their phone number and my home phone number and in the last moment, I let whoever listens to the message that their cat has passed. 
I regret doing that. It seems so cold and impersonal. 
Then I cry.
I thank Eunice and Nina.
I call Anne back. She tells me that I did a good job. That most people pretend they don't see. That I went above and beyond. She thanks me!
I feel like hugging her through the phone. I tell her that she's the kind of friend I want on my team. It's mutual.
Then I tell our children that the cat has died but, that we did the right thing even though it was difficult.
Charlotte says, "It's okay Mom. That precious cat is with Quincy (our very first cat ~ died many years before our children were born) and Granddaddy Don and Clover too." 
(I will tell you about Clover some other time.)
I wipe away the tears and we get back on the road headed to Savers and our favorite discount bookstore.
Life is so unpredictable. 
God bless the American Humane Society ~ if you want to make a donation, you can do so here.

Tonight I get a phone call. A warm and thankful voice is on the other end. It is a man's voice. His name is Rostis. He has a Russian accent. He tells me about the life of his beloved cat named Marble. He is so thankful that I stopped to help his cat. He says a blessing for me and our children and our pets. 
After we say good-bye, I cry again.

The kindness of strangers.