Friday, December 24, 2010

They Believe :)

It's been months since I have posted. I have almost come to a point of just letting this blog go, but tonight just needed to be preserved somehow.

We were just driving home from our annual Christmas eve family gathering at Fitz's brothers. On our way there, just before we got to their neighborhood, we saw several deer in the road. It was amazing timing, and there was much animated conversation in the back of the van that Santa must be pretty close if he is just letting the reindeer run around the neighborhood!

On the way home, all the kids were chattering away excitedly together. Pipo was especially in a hurry to get back, as he wanted to check Norad, and see where Santa was. He still absolutely, without hesitation, believes. It is amazing to me that it was 5 short years ago that we were celebrating our first Christmas with a new son who was fairly sick, fairly frightened and fairly confused about all these American customs. To say he has adjusted well is a huge understatement. Not to say it was all easy... it wasn't easy by any means. It's amazing to look back over the years and think what we have all been through. But through it all one thing has been constant... the faith and trust Pipo has in everything, especially us. With everything he has been through in his young life... he has always had an amazing inner strength that I envy. He believes that things that will work out, he believes that God will take care of him, he believes that there is good out there, when he has witnessed so much more bad that most adults have.

And tonight, he believes that Santa is out there making people across the world happy. And I find myself watching the skies myself, listening for sleighbells. It's contagious... I believe.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inside the mind of a 9 year old...

(all said in one fell swoop, without even a breath in between.)

Emma: “So, we have a game Saturday, it’s far away, but I am not playing goalie. You know, some caterpillars are fuzzy, and some aren’t, but they are all squishy when you run over them with a bike. And by the way... who invented socks?”

Saturday, September 4, 2010

That’s how we roll

Today we spent seven fun-filled hours at Canobie Lake Park, chasing our dare devil children from one ride to the next. Now I like roller coasters as much as the next person, but I must admit my favorite ride came at the end of the night. Reclining in the old leather seat, the heat coming off the floor vents taking off the chill of the night, the hum of the old diesel engine lulling me into pure contentment.

Fitz often laughs about my deep attachment to our old bus. I know it’s silly, but I have many good reasons to be so attached. Whether it’s the crazy story of how we ended up with ‘Old Blue’, the memories of a 12 day trip down to the Outer Banks, the many summers spent at camp, middle of the night thunder storms sending kids scrambling out of tents and onto the bus with us, or the warm Spring night last May after walking all night in the Relay for Life when I climbed onto the bus at 2am exhausted and found eight bodies sprawled in every available space. All these memories have one thing in common though. Togetherness. Nothing brings our family together like that old bus does. There is no better feeling in the world for me than lying awake in the middle of the night listening to all 9 of us breathing in the same space. I know we are all safe, I know we are all happy, I know we are all together.

Tomorrow our oldest, Kaleigh, leaves for college. For me it feels like the beginning of the end of that togetherness. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sad at all. In fact I am excited for her, excited for all that she is going to be experiencing in the coming years. But I’m realizing that my mother duck days of sitting on my nest full of eggs is coming to an end. We are starting a new chapter here in Fitzville. The first of the Fitzlings is flying the nest. She’s done an amazing job of teaching her younger brothers and sisters to fly, and I know in the coming years we will be watching each of them make their way into the world.

Someday it will just be Fitz and I on that bus. I joke with him about selling the house, and spending our golden years driving around, taking turns parking in each of our kids’ driveways to visit our grandchildren. But I am only half joking. I’ll need that old bus more than ever then... if only for the memories like today, driving home from an amazing family day with 7 kids sleeping behind us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

The birthday four through the years... this is the last year that any of them will be in single digits! Hard to believe it was our 13th annual Memorial day bash, and one of the "four" is a teenager!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Finding the words

I have tried so many times to write this post... only to delete it all when I am done typing. The picture I chose here, out of the hundreds I took, sums up a good part. The resort we stayed at was beautiful. The weather couldn't have been more perfect... gorgeous sunsets every single night. We did amazing fun, cool things every day. It was truly the trip of a life time, the adventure of a lifetime for all 9 of us. It couldn't have been better timing either, with Pipo having a tough winter, and finally reaching an age where he really 'gets' it, he knows this kidney stuff is going to be a lifelong battle. With Kaleigh heading off to school in the fall too, this was a window of opportunity for all 9 of us to have a true family vacation.

We are incredibly thankful for everything Make a Wish did in setting this trip up. Every little detail was accounted for. We had to think about absolutely nothing for the week... it was pure heaven. From the limo service that picked us up, to the reps at American airlines who treated us like royalty, to the luxurious resort that was beyond our wildest imagination. I don't think any of us could have imagined a better trip.

If that was all of it, it would be an easy post to write. I could detail the incredible meals we had, the white sand beach and the beautiful pool just steps from our cottage door. I could talk about how truly relaxed we were for the first time I can remember. But it was so much more than that... so much more than we ever expected.

For this I need to go back 12 years, to when we first moved to this little town. I remember telling Fitz from our very first days here how much I loved it. How for the first time in my life I felt like I was in a place I truly belonged. The longer we live here, the more I love it. Everyone seems to know eachother, and if you don't know someone, you know someone who does. And whether you know them or not, you would drop everything to help them if needed. It's the most amazing sense of community I have ever experienced. And now I have found it again.

As 'Kathleen', who sent us on our snorkeling trip, put it, "Key West might seem like a big town, but if you get rid of the tourists, it's really a small town. Everyone knows each other, everyone takes care of each other." And take care of us they did. Make a Wish had done an incredible job of setting up a trip of a lifetime for Pipo, but once the locals of Key West heard his story, the trip became magical. After hearing that he hadn't really caught much fish our first trip out, people got together and offered two more chartered trips. On one of those trips Pipo caught a 4 foot barracuda and ended up on the front page of the local paper.

This was the biggest magic of the trip, but all of the little things were equally amazing. It was the guys on the boats, yelling good morning to our kids by name as they ran down the docks in the morning. It was the shopkeepers, smiling and sharing their life stories with us, giving the kids little gifts like pirate coins. It was the waitresses at our favorite diner, hugging all the kids goodbye on our last day. It was the owner of our favorite "conch shack" surprising the kids with deep fried oreos one afternoon after lunch. By the end of the week, we felt a part of the place. We had truly been embraced and accepted into this small town. We can't wait to go back someday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pictures from our travel day

Had a hard time uploading the other day, so here are the pictures from Sunday, when we arrived in Key West.... PICTURES

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 1

Still having a hard time uploading here, but here is a sideshow of Day 1 in Key west. Check out the pictures here!

Living in a dream

I don't even know where to begin here. This place is like nothing I could even have dreamed of, and to be here, all nine of us, without a worry in the world... Fitz and I looked at last night and agreed, "we could go home tomorrow, and this still would have been the trip of a lifetime."

Our whole day was incredible, despite the fact that it was mostly spent traveling. From the time the limo service picked us up at 8am, until we were escorted onto this private island... we have been treated like royalty. Our favorite person by far though, was Brian from American airlines. He greeted us as we walked into Logan, and made sure our every need was met. He had already checked us in, took care of our luggage, and then escorted us to the Admirals Club, where he spoiled our kids (especially Pipo) rotten. We had a private board room with a DVD playing on a huge flatscreen, fresh juice and muffins, and he kept bring cups full of candy for the kids to pack in their backpacks. He led us out onto the plane early so the kids could meet the captain in the cockpit, and gave each of the kids wings. When we arrived in Miami, and were looking around trying to find our next gate, Emma looked at me and said "Is Brian only in the Boston airport?" I laughed and said "Yes, there is no Brian here." She looked so sad and said "I miss Brian."

But the real pampering is on this island. It doesn't even seem real. Sunset Key is truly the most tranquil setting you could ever believe. Our guest cottage looks out at the pool. I am having a hard time uploading pictures, so there are not nearly as many as I'd like, but the first shot here is from the pool, looking at our cottage. Yes, that two story building directly behind the gorgeous pool is our home for the week. I keep thinking this is a dream... this must be somebody else's life.

I woke up early this morning and couldn't sleep, so here I sit on the beach trying to get these pictures up. I will try again tonight, and maybe put a slideshow together. But even the pictures won't do it justice. You won't be able to smell the seabreeze, or the tropical flowers every where. You won't hear the excitement when Tommy sees a lizard on our front porch, or Pipo spots a 5 foot Tarpon (really!) swimming under the resort dock. You won't taste the amazing smoothies the girls order to sit by the pool with. You won't hear the utter tranquility... the silence, the water, the birds. You won't feel the complete relaxation that two stressed out parents have been needing for a good number of years. So for now, look at these couple of pictures and try to imagine... and even then, it might not be close.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pulling close

Two days ago, Fitz called me with some horrific news. An old student of his... just 18 years old, took his life. This was a beautiful boy, and that is truly an understatement. He was smart, athletic, popular, but so much more than that... kind, and polite, and a role-model for the younger students at Fitz's school. Most people will never know the demons he was battling, and the many, many kids who were affected by this are utterly devastated. I know Fitz and I have had quite a few 'what could we have done' conversations. We both loved this kid, but did we ever truly reach out? I know we are past the why's and what if's, but it's hard to push those thoughts from your head.

Tomorrow morning we leave for Pipo's Make a Wish trip, and suddenly this trip has taken on a whole new meaning. We have never taken a trip like this, and I am not sure we ever would have. We are headed down to Key West, and Pipo is going fishing... his big wish. The kids are beyond excited, and have been counting the days. Fitz and I are both at a point where this break is much, much needed. But at the moment, I am not thinking vacation. I am thinking of pulling close. The last two days I have been looking at each of my 7 kids hard. Wondering if they know how fiercely we love them, how there is nothing that could happen in their lives that would make us turn away from them.

It's interesting to have an older adoptive child, when you have several biological children. With Pipo, teaching him love and trust was such a conscious thing... something we worked on constantly, and still do. In the beginning, he questioned that love daily. He still does occasionally, but for the most part, I am pretty confident that we have shown him he is ours heart and soul. Even at the worst of times, even when he lashed out and fought, we pulled him close and told him he is our son, we love him, we will hold on to him no matter what.

You raise your kids doing all the little things for them day in and day out, and assume they know. You think they know that making a lunch, rushing to catch their soccer game, picking up that last item at the store they need for the project tomorrow... you think they know that this is love. That your world revolves around them, and there is nothing you wouldn't do to make them happy or take away any pain they have. But do they really know?

Tomorrow we leave for 6 days of pure family time. I want to pull all seven kids close, and make sure they know. I want to be their safety net, I want them to know we are always here to fall back on, we will always be here to pick them up.

We will try, we will do our best, but there is a piece of me that thinks about this beautiful boy gone from our lives, and I wonder... can we ever know? I don't think we can, but we can pull close, hold on, and hope that it is enough.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Sport

I haven't been posting very regularly here, and I am wondering if I even have a readership left. If I do, I'd love to ask a favor...  The photo above is of my oldest, Kaleigh. She won the 2 mile in her track meet today. It was a momentous win for her. The other girl in the photo is her biggest rival in track. Kaleigh has been running the 2 mile against her since she was in 8th grade. Today, in her senior year... for the first time in 5 years, Kaleigh beat her. In all her years of track, this was the only girl who could ever beat Kaleigh. She was ecstatic after the race!

So here's the favor. Kaleigh is in the running for a $5000 college scholarship. She has officially accepted at UMASS Amherst for the fall. We know she has already received the Adams Scholarship, which is a big help, but every dollar counts here with 6 more to send to school after her. Here's the catch. The initial stage of this scholarship process is voting. The top 15 'vote-getters' from each state will be the finalists. They will then be interviewed by a panel and 3 will be chosen for scholarships.  I would love to see Kaleigh be one of the finalists. She is a bubbly, energetic kid with lots to offer. I think she'd do well in the interview.  Here is a link. You can vote every day... every vote will help her. And for any help we can get here... thank you very, very much!

And at the end here is a picture of Margaret. This is her first year of track, being just a 7th grader. She ran the 800 today, and did a phenomonal job taking 4th place. For a 7th grader (and a tiny one at that!) running against high school kids, I was so proud of her. It's going to be a great season!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little boy blues

Can you see what is clutched in Tommy's sleepy little hand? I have similar pictures from over the years, pictures of a little baby sleeping in a crib with a harmonica tight in his fist, pictures of a toddler dressed for the holidays, the telltale harmonica in hand. 

If you looked through my diaper bag from years ago, you would not have found a single pacifier. You would have found a wide variety of harmonicas though. I don't even remember how exactly it started, where that first harp came from. 

Tommy had tubes put in and adenoids out when he was a little over a year old. The anesthesiologist laughed when I carried him in. They had told me to bring a comfort object for him to hold as they put him under. All the other moms and babies waiting for similar surgeries had binkies and blankies. Not my boy though... mine had that harp held tightly in his fist.

This, to me, has to be one of the coolest things about parenting a big brood. To see how completely different all their personalities are right from the start. Yes, there are similarities, but it's those little quirks unique to each one that I really, really love.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

With Saint Patrick's day yesterday, I couldn't help but think of how lucky I am these days. Sure I blew out my knee, but only because I am healthy enough to still be playing soccer at my age with 7 kids at home.

I sat on the couch last night with my leg propped up, and looked around me. Our house was brimming with family and friends, kids ran outside in the unbelievably gorgeous March weather playing hide and seek, teenagers sat talking and laughing in the kitchen, and adults were streaming in and out the door, with offerings of everything from wine to cupcakes.

With me laid up, Fitz was in full charge of our usual Wednesday night meal, and he ditched the spaghetti for the more traditional corned beef and cabbage. It was amazing. Wednesdays here are always amazing, but for different reasons each week. I ran a search for "Wednesday" on my blog, and it was so fun to look back at the special occasions that have fallen on Wednesdays... birthdays, New Years, and now Saint Patrick's day. Wednesdays are always a reminder to Fitz and I of how incredibly lucky we are to have such an amazing support group, but having come home from the hospital just hours before, and having everyone in a celebratory mood just brought the message home that much more clearly.

I am a lucky, lucky woman!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Broken filters

Yesterday, I was lying in pre-op waiting for my knee surgery when the nurse came in to set up my IV. She started in with casual chit-chat, I'm sure to relax me... and the inevitable family questions came up. When she found out I had 7 kids, she asked the dreaded, most ill-worded question... "Are they all real, you know by blood?"

Now my parents raised me to be polite, so I went with the polite answer, but what I really wanted to say was "Well, I'm pretty positive they are all real, and they definitely all bleed. I know because I have take every one of them in for stitches at one point or another, held their hand, let them know I was there for them... because you know, that's what real moms do."

When my polite answer mentioned we had adopted our last one, she then said "Oh, now isn't that nice. What possessed you to do that, when you already had 6 kids?"

Again, I went with the polite answer, but in my head I was saying, "well, actually God possessed me... you see he's this really cool guy who knows what's best for my family, unlike perfect strangers who don't know me or my kids."

And then the inevitible next comment. "Well, you must have a really big house then." And the answer in my head, "Why, yes! Because how could a child possibly grow up happy without a huge house, their own room and lots and lots of toys to play with? A mom and dad who love them are secondary, right?"

Now seriously, I answered each question politely, and we ended up having a nice conversation in which I hope she learned a bit. But it always amazes me the things that come out of people's mouths. Those old brain filters are clogged I guess.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Forced retirement

Last month was long and busy. We are still trying to do what we can to help Haiti. Pipo ended up raising over $150 and was able to personally deliver it to the Saint Boniface office. I think it went a long way in helping him deal with all this.

Kaleigh turned 18 this past weekend, which is very hard for me to believe. Fitz put together a great slideshow which I will try to post here as well.

I have been playing indoor soccer at the same place, with basically the same group of guys for about 10 years now. It has been my one escape. My one "me" time. Now that Kaleigh is 18, she had signed up with me, and I have been so excited to be able to share this with her, and get a little one on one time before she heads off to school next year. But this past Tuesday at soccer, I went a little too hard, turned a little too fast and blew out my knee. I knew as I went down that this was bad, I felt and heard the pop, and had pain worse than anything I have ever felt in my life. (including giving birth to 9.14lb Tommy, drug free)

I have never in my life been injured to the point of needing to go to the hospital. Never anything that the school trainer couldn't fix in college, never anything that I couldn't limp through, wrap up and play through, forget about and get on with my busy life. The only time I have been in the hospital was to give birth. And even then, I was always up and out the next day, often going places and doing things before the baby was 2 days old. I have never been incapacitated.

I am finding out very quickly that I am terrible at this. If it had been my left leg, I think I could handle it, but it's my right. My driving leg. I knew I drove a lot, but I don't think I ever realized just how much. Not being able to just run to the store when I need to is a pain. But trying to organize a life with 7 kids is ridiculously hard. Fitz has been great, but I know it is wearing on him. I'm also thankful for the awesome small town where we live , where everyone has been offering to help. It's just that accepting help has never been a strong point of mine. I've always been the one who can just take care of it all myself. Sitting here unable to do a thing is incredibly humbling.

I keep thinking maybe the doctor is wrong. Maybe it's just a little sprain, and I will be back on it in a day or two. Like a toothache that you can't stop touching with your tongue, I keep testing my leg, putting a little weight on it, trying to not use the crutches. It only takes a few seconds of this to realize I am an idiot, this pain is not going away, this is not a quick fix. For the first time in my life, I am realizing I am not indestructible. And that realization is even more painful than the knee.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Please don't forget

Four years ago a little boy was in Haiti fighting for his life. With the help from Senator Kennedy, we were able to bring him here in a hurry for proper medical care. Today that boy carried a coin jar all around school, raising money for the many other young kids in Haiti who are fighting for life. He has raised over $75. Please don't forget. As time goes on, and it falls to the background of the news stories... please don't forget.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti and animals.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the earthquake is the only thing on my mind right now. We have Pipo's best friend from Haiti staying with us at the moment, while his mom flies down to Florida to pick up some evacuated family members. Along with the friend is his brand new puppy, who is proving to be a great distraction for all our kids.

I forgot how much fun (and how much work) having a puppy in the house can be. Brings me back to our first days with Maizy.

The shelter we picked Maizy up at has a facebook site. It's a great shelter, and they do some wonderful things. But the last few days they have been posting regular announcements about "The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) banding together to save all the poor animals".

I know I am going to risk flaming comments from PETA activists here, but This has made me more angry than I have been in a long time. I am an animal lover, no question. But we are talking about a disaster of tremedous proportions here... a place where hundreds of thousands of people are dead... and just as many are wounded, trapped, missing. Food, water, medical supplies... they are all dwindling. Even the areas not structurally damaged by this earthquake will be affected severely by the dwindling supplies. Any aid that is sent to Haiti, in the form of food, drinking water or medical supplies needs to go towards HUMANS. Any aid being given to animals is aid being taken away from people who desperately need it. I can understant trying to save livestock, to help with the diminishing food supply, but stray cats and dogs should not be helped. This is not cruelty... this is reality.

The article from the website mentions "untold numbers of companion animals". Haiti is not a place where people have lots of pets. Haiti is a place where many people cannot afford to feed their own children. The thought of feeding stray dogs is preposterous.

Again, I do love animals. This is a matter of priorities though. Human life should always be put first. We will continue our prayers here in Fitzville, and hope that as much aid as possible can be sent from everywhere across the world to help the PEOPLE of Haiti in this horrific time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No words.

Last night Pipo came home from school and went straight up to his room. Not like him at all, especially since it was dinner time. Fitz followed him up and said he had been crying, and turned the light off and pulled the covers over his head. We let him stay there for a while, knowing he needed the space, but I went up close to bedtime, and woke him to take his medicine. He came down with me to have the plate of food Fitz saved for him, but was still very quiet. He just looks broken.

We have always planned to take Pipo back to Haiti to visit his grandmother, and we will eventually. But we won't be taking him back to the Haiti he remembers.  The picture above is of Pipo pre-sickness.  He didn't have much, and often didn't know when the next meal was coming, but he had a grandmother who loved him and took care of him. I love the little smile on his face. He looks so hopeful, like he knows things are going to be okay.  I would and will do anything to bring that smile back.

But what do I do, what do I say? As much as we try to filter the information he sees and hears, it's impossible. He knows now that Haiti will never be the same. He knows that his village did not have much structural damage, and that the hospital where he spent most of his young life is still standing. He even knows his grandmother was not hurt. But he is old enough, wise enough from his younger years of surviving in such a place, that he knows much of Haiti revolves around Port au Prince. He knows that that is where the medical supplies come from. He knows that the times he was very, very sick, it was PaP that our friend Conor would have to rush to to get him life saving meds. He knows that much of the food supplies came from PaP.  And what is left of PaP now?

Charlie, probably my most sensitive kid, and the one who idolizes his oldest brother, announcing from his first days home that we were now a "Irish/Haitian" family, was up very early today, telling me he had a nightmare that the world was being destroyed. What can you say to that?

One of the things that Fitz and I have always prided ourselves on is that we are raising happy kids. Not that we have completely sheltered them, they know that there are many places in the world who have it hard. But they all have an incredible optimism about them, a sense that whatever is wrong in the world, we can all fix together someday.  I have vivid memories of The kids selling Sunflowers on the corner downtown to raise funds after hurricane Katrina. They knew it was bad down there, but they had the utter faith of childhood that we could rebuild. 

I want them to keep this optimism, I want to them to always think they can help make it okay. But this is so, so hard right now. We will do everything we can to help, but with every news report, every phone call or email asking about Pipo, a piece of me dies.  The look in my sons eyes last night came very close to putting me over the edge. We all want to 'make it all better for our kids'. But how do I do this? What do I tell him?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It's Pipo's birthday today. It's also Wednesday which means it's a regular party day anyway, with people coming over for spaghetti and meatballs tonight. It's a time to celebrate.

I am not feeling too celebratory though. I always find myself thinking of Pipo's family in Haiti on his birthday. I think of these birthdays, and so many other moments his mother has missed, dying so young. I think of his Grandmother, wonder if she remembers it is his birthday. I know she misses him, but is happy he is here and healthy. I think of the rest of his family, scattered after the death of his mother, and wonder if they remember their little brother, so sick while he was in Haiti.

Today I think of everyone in Haiti. My heart breaks at every new news report I see. We have emailed our good friend Conor, who brought Pipo here to us. We haven't heard from him, and I know if he is okay, he is doing everything in his power to make sure others are okay too. I read that the St. Joseph's boys home collapsed, and I think of Sony, the beautiful boy we met at Fenn who came with his dance troupe. I think of the hospice nurse who worked with my mother in law in her last days... telling me so proudly of her daugher, a nurse still in Haiti, and her sons, still living in PaP. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and this devastation will break many that were already so broken. This is one of those "why" moments. I just can't fathom why these beautiful people, who already suffer so much, are suffering even more now.

Again, I ask you... please pray.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Please pray. I know Pipo's grandmother is far from PaP, but his extended family is in PaP, and Our very good friend travels often to PaP. This is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now they are suffering tenfold from the devastation of this earthquake... again, please pray.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day of (W)rest(ling)

*WARNING: Blatant and indulgent mom bragging ahead

Pipo and E.J. were off to an all day wrestling tournament today... a first for E.J.  I will fully admit, I have become a total wrestling mom. I love it, I love to watch my boys, I watch now to scout out the 'good' wrestlers from tourneys we've been too, I slap my sons on the back and make comments about what a 'great half nelson they pulled, and 'to remember not to reach back.'  I am thinking maybe I need intervention.

E.J. was pretty nervous going into his first ever tournament, but came out strong, dominating his first match.

His second match led to his first bloody nose. It took a good 10 minutes of clean up time to clean up the fair amount of blood he got on himself, his opponent and the mat. He was losing 9-2 at this point, and after getting cleaned up and noticing the score board, he came out with fire in his eyes and came back to win 13-12.

Pipo wrestled hard, but he was accidently placed in the top division and was wrestling some of the best kids in his weight class... most of whom had been wrestling  5+ years as opposed to Pipo's 1 year of experience.  He got pretty discouraged during the day, but picked his head up, and kept going out on the mat for more.

Despite the difference in experience between him and his opponents, he was able to throw a few moves in there.

E.J. finished off his day with an impressive pin...

Which earned him a gold medal! Good day overall!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Home is where the food is...

Been slacking on the blog as of late, but not for lack of writing material. We had an amazing week down in D.C. with superhero Aunt and Uncle, Chris and Jim. Every time we visit we are reminded of why we love it there. It is such a fun, kid friendly place, and so great for big families. This is the second trip where the kids have declared that their favorite spot, hands down, is the Navy museum. So many cool things to see and do there, and it is never crowded.

While on this trip, Pipo was having a little difficulty... mainly a poor attitude and being generally grumpy and not at gracious as we would expect of him (or any fitzkids). Later, after we were able to talk it out with him, and when Fitz and I talked about it ourselves later, we realized it mostly came back to an age old issue... hunger.

I have written about hunger before, and the huge impact it has on Pipo. I know that it is a big issue for him, and we are usually pretty good about catching it and addressing it, but sometimes it still catches us off guard. Traveling can be tough for him, because he doesn't have the same food routine. We may know (and even tell him!) that there are hot dog vendors every 20 yards or so in D.C., but it isn't the same as being home with the knowledge that food is just a few steps away.

The boys have their first wrestling tournament of the season tomorrow (E.J.'s first tourney!), and at practice, the coaches emphasized what a long day it will be, discouraging newer boys to jump in quickly. I know both boys are ready though, and planned on going. Pipo said offhandedly a few times that he didn't want to go. I ignored him, because he wasn't being overly vocal, and because he can be negative at times when he is unsure of the outcome of a situation. I know he is ready, and he will probably do very well at the tournament. But I thought more about it this weekend, and it dawned on me that there might be another reason for his hesitancy. I asked him if he was worried about getting hungry being gone all day at the tourney. He quietly admitted this was the case. I asked him if he would like to go to the store today and pick out a few of his favorite snacks to pack up and bring with him. What a difference. He is a new boy, excited as can be about the tournament.

Another reminder of how deep hunger runs. I know in my heart now that this is a hurt he will never get past. He will find ways to cope, find ways to deal with it, and we will help him in every way we can. But that fear will always be there somewhere, the fear that someday there won't be enough to eat.