Monday, December 7, 2015

Marrying Right

It's not always great, but it's generally above average and it's always supportive.

Fwiw, I think you are an incredible mother, an amazing friend, an astute businesswoman, and a wife who has rocked my world and blessed my life in ways that I did not think we're possible. While it is just my opinion on these matter, I am a doctor so you can trust me.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Moxie

I spoke earlier about taking a bit more risk-- well, one of those "stick your neck out there moments" was my deciding to be a part of our local production of the Nutcracker.  I have never been in the Nutcracker but had always wanted to be.   Kid dreams deferred here we are-- opening night!

It's been YEARS since I have been in a play myself. I have worked/directed countless times but never went out for it myself- so here in the year of Moxie, I am going to play Mother Ginger- which is basically the head on top of a barbie cake- where dancers come out from underneath the skirt.  It's really fun and I am having a blast hanging with the kids in my scene.

Also totally awesome-- I get to do this with Deirdre who is a Little Angel-- she spends most of the performance giving a thumbs up to the audience or pointing at fog- but it's awesome regardless.  She LOVES rehearsals-- it's exciting to see her interests emerge and even more so exciting to see her interested in some of the same kinds of things I am interested in.

so alas-- here is Daisy in her debut as Thumbs up Angel.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Off the Bench

recognize that posting has been light.  cough. all year.  I am not sure what to really do about that-- there was a lot going on with me professionally this year which is very hard to write about in a public space. 

The short of it- I took a job that was based in another city. I spent much of the spring traveling in and out of Ketchikan and for the most part it was working for us as a family  We then started to talk about relocation to the new city as a more permanent decision and that's when the heavy conversation started.

Now if you want a peek behind the marriage of Matt and Dana- let me set the stage.  It often involves a bottle of wine, late nights, foot massages and heavy conversations on values.   We talked and talked and then talked some more for almost a month straight while my job somewhat patiently let us work through this step as a family.  This talking isn't new to us, it's something that we had established early in our relationship and has only grown as our lives have become more complicated.  We don't have a perfect marriage by any standard but we do have an extremely candid and earnest one. To a fault we are open about what is going on. . . and in the times of big decisions it can be almost debilitating.  There were late, late nights on this one.

When I describe our decision to move to Ketchikan I often use the term "values driven life."  I think people roll their eyes a bit at that-- but that's really as simple as it was.  We were commuting a bunch, on the run and had dinner as a family maybe once or twice a week.  We met some great folks- especially through our adoption with Simon who lived life just the way they wanted to, and it was inspiring.  Moving to Ketchikan was about creating the space for us to really bond as a family.  Our decision to come to Ketchikan looked and acted very similarly to these conversations.  There was wine, there was conversations around the practicalities of our choices and the impact to our kids and relationship.  A bit of déjà vu for us.

The reality was that although another adventure sounded exciting, especially to me- the reality of living in a new city with both of us working and me traveling a lot was too much.   It also took us away from the values we have found in Ketchikan. In the end, I decided to resign my job and continue our life in Ketchikan.  We had intended to be here for 18 months but that time has now come and gone and we are still here.  It feels good, the values are still in check, the marriage still strong and the kids still thriving. Staying feels good, so that's where we are.

So now what. . . as those of you who follow the blog over the last couple years will know that we adopt a new years resolution as a family.  This has varied over the years but this year was moxie.  Now moxie indicates some resemblance to swagger and general ass kicking.  To date, this has NOT been the year of moxie- but a year of indecision and angst.  Not moxie at all.   Now we are in late October and I am not sure what happened other than that we almost made a big move,  decided not to, and didn't have another plan in place.

I give myself a pass for the spring of indecision, the summer of fun while I connected with some old friends and family with a plan to fully carpe the diem out of this fall.  

Soon fall was amidst us and I am still lacking traction.  I could point to one hundred excuses of why my life is hard  or didn't go the way I though- but that's not really the point.  The year was called MOXIE not MAKING SCHOOL LUNCHES. 

It turns out that getting four kids into the swing of school is not easy-- it's half a loaf of bread in sandwiches, 2 hours a day in the car and several rounds of IEP's. Again,excuses.  It turns out getting pneumonia at 35, will derail you for almost a month and turn you into a albuterol shaky, codeine seeking druggie. Again, excuses.  It turns out having your confidence shaken with a tough career pivot will make it hard to stick your neck out.  Again, excuses.

Well, that ends about now.  I'm coming off the bench.  I may have not nailed the theme this year, but damn if I can't finish strong.  Nothing about moxie breeds temperance.   Let's get this done. 

I came across this cover recently from a singer I like and have been listening to it a lot during my work outs.    It's the attitude I am going to adopt for the balance of the year.  The relentless pursuit of happiness and shameful enthusiasm. 
I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shines ain't always gonna be gold. Hey, I'll be fine once I get it, I'll be good

There is a lot going on in our little world- even by our standards.  Some of you who care for us may caution us on moderation- but I (lovingly) won't have it for the next couple months.  I have been living this new philosophy for a couple weeks now, and man. . . it feels awesome.

People told me slow my roll, I'm screaming out: Fuck that.  I'm a do just what I want, looking ahead no turning back

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Simon Tirfe

We have been doing a lot of celebrating in this house-- it seems like we are always doing a lot of celebrating but today is a special day because Simon Tirfe is three!

We celebrated Simon's birthday a couple weeks ago with a beach barbecue.  I wasn't sure if I was going to do a kid party for Simon because I didn't think he would 'get' it.  Boy, was I wrong.  Thank goodness for friends who encouraged me to do it!

My heart was warm with love as I saw him open his own presents-- blow out his own birthday candles and give away his bubble favors to his friends.  It was one of my favorite days so far as a parent.  I love seeing him confident and feeling like the king of the world!

He is three but in some ways I feel like I am just getting to know him.   He has been talking so much more in the last couple months-- and with more confidence.  It's opened up a whole side of his personality that I think we were guessing at before.  He was a toddler who spoke like a baby---suddenly we have a boy in the house with all these opinions, tinkering, joy, pain and some pretty awesome, fall on the floor, kick your legs, cartoony temper tantrums.   It's pretty great.

It's been just over two years since he came to our home in Minneapolis.  I am in awe of how far we have come-- we all have come. I was thinking back to those early days with this motoring baby speed crawling through our house, getting up at 3 AM with coffee, venturing out with him for the first time, the trust that we had to build, the joy yet to experience.  There was so much expectation and hope.

It took some time, but I feel like we are seeing what the promise of what we hoped for in those first few days and weeks.   Everything with Simon has been sudden*-- we suddenly had a motoring baby in the house** Now we suddenly have a little boy.

Happy Birthday Simon.

*Except for that three year waiting thing.  Not sudden at all.
** which is so different of an experience than bringing a newborn home.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mimi Mae

The last of the littles is entering not so little.  Moira Mable, "Mimi" to her sibs, is now one.  It's been a sweet year for miss M.  Mimi is in many ways the most entertaining baby to grace the Fitzpatrick house hold but she is also probably the most demanding as well.  She smiles, waves, hoots and hollers.  She is up in the middle of the night- screaming her head off but also quick with the smile and a "hi ya".     I am not entirely sure how miss Mimi will turn out-- but I am willing to bet it will be a wild and fun ride.

I am not sure if it was because life was more hectic with the others or that I am just at a place to appreciate the simple, the sentimental.. . whatever.  She rocks. I love this babe.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Authentic Kid

James has been wanting a mohawk for some time.  At his last hair cut he boldly told the hair stylist that he wanted a mohawk while I grimaced and revised his request to "faux-hawk".  The stylist confirmed that this meant that there would be hair on the side and I noted my exact understanding of the haircut.  

Fast forward-- James looks in the mirror at home and his little lip trembles and he said that he wanted a real mohawk.

It's summer-- and you know. . . why not.  I hack it together with a little painters tape and Matt's clippers and we have a real mohawk.

Fast forward-- lip tremble-- it's not a color. ..  well, if you are like me you grew up with the book "if you give a mouse a cookie, you know at the end of the day you get a happy mouse.

Well, we let him do it-- and I think this is one of my proudest moments as a parent.  He is so confident with his new hair- like a peacock strutting about.  The best part though is the self talk he does in the mirror-- hey you, guy there with the purple hair.  (guns, pew pew, fist pump) Yeah!

I am not sure what sort of expression is in this kid-- he has always been so excited about his looks and  I guess it's natural for it to expand to hair.  I wish I could say that I was totally on board- but I did have to give it a bit to warm up.  Now I see him running around with the lightness of someone who KNOWS just how cool they look and I can't believe that I made him ask me for 3 years before letting him do it.

It might not be for every one-- and I am sure there are mothers out there judging me for my child's semi-permanent look-- but this has been great. for both of us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sweet Sassy Molassy

Deirdre is three.  Hard to believe--

One little story about miss Daisy before I turn you over to the video.  On Daisy's first birthday she pinched out her birthday candles while her three year old brother threw a conniption because he thought the honor was his.  We all gasped about the burned baby but she was fine-- because that's just how Deirdre rolls.  Blowing is for losers.

On her third birthday* we go to light the candle and sing happy birthday and Deirdre disappears into the basement and comes back with a candle lighter.  You know, from her personal stash.** 

Hard to believe this is the same kid two years later, right? Well, that's Deirdre. Independent, competent, sassy.


* Her first friend birthday-- which she asked for, planned and overall orchestrated with the help of pinterest. I kid you not.  The kid was on fucking pinterest. "I said Fairy Pancakes!"
**Crap parents we are, we do not keep the fire starters in the play room. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Well folks-- once again I need to put my tail between my legs, scratch my toe a little on the ground and apologize about not writing.

I know some of you actually read this little thing of mine-- and sadly I do write-- I just often forget to post.  So the next few days* you will be treated to some random musings about life in Fitztopia.
A quick update on where life stands these days-- and some comments that are long overdue in terms of things I mentioned here and then totally failed to circle back on. 
  1. Moira.  Still awesome.
  2. Moira.  We went through her official hearing test and she did awesome.  Like seriously seriously awesome.   Nana, James, Moira and I did a full day appointment at the U of Minnesota.**   Through a miraculous coincidence of nursing and a super sleep-deprived baby we were able to do the test without sedation. She shows minor hearing loss in one ear.   One ear is just a shade below normal (bad enough to fail the screen but not bad enough to need a hearing aid and the other ear is hearing at a level that would be considered quite normal for an adult (25db).   At this point we are not going to do hearing aids-- my experience having gone through this before is that they are damn impossible to keep on their little ears anyway and since we don't have access to getting the rubber mold done at the monthly frequency needed when they grow that rapidly-- we are going to pass and re-evaluate in a few months.  Our audiologist is fully supportive of this plan and we feel comfortable having been through this gauntlet before.   She is continuing to meet her language milestones-- humming and singing and the basic bubble making that babies do.   As you can imagine-- this was TREMENDOUS news and we are feeling so incredibly grateful.  She is so clearly our most extroverted (read: LOUD) child so we will know if something changes and she isn't picking up as much.   We are so glad that we are dealing with a minor issue and that she has such an awesome bro to guide her on the path.
  3. James' hearing is still stable at around 40-50db in some frequencies.  We did an awesome game of dinosaur basketball where he threw dinos into a box whenever he heard a hum.  Hearing tests are loads more fun as they get older and can actually participate.  Young hearing loss parents-- have faith. It gets better.      
  4. James and Moira are getting tested for a genetic link to the hearing loss.  It's probable that the CMV diagnosis that we thought James had was a red herring and that there is a link genetically with our kiddos.  When we tested James we didn't find anything but in simple simple terms-- the 5 or so tests that were common then are now 100's. Amazing what science can do in a few short years.  We are doing a panel on both kids and will hopefully know more soon.
  5. Speaking of Speech and language--Simon is starting speech therapy.  He has come so far but still struggles to annunciate the ends of his words.  For example, I wouldn't know the difference between Mom, Milk or More out of context.   It's getting better but his speech is more at the level of an 18-monther than a 30-monther and we aren't sure how to coach it. We have had a couple great initial meetings and evaluations and we feel great about the guidance already coming in from the pros.  It is very possible that three of the four of my children will be in speech therapy.  Uffda.
  6. We spent Christmas in Minnesota and it was pretty awesome.  It was the first year since Matt and I have been together that we didn't go to Florida.  It was different but good.  The kids really understood Santa this year and I felt such joy with all the festivities.  Deirdre was probably my favorite in terms of Christmas reactions.  She hyperventilated when she opened her favorite gift and spent much of the day outside in her Frozen dress***  We have a great video of her standing on the edge of lake (her tundra)  belting Let It Go in the musical styling of  her dress while Pop Pop tried to get her to put her coat on. Elsa does not wear a coat.  Her passionate interpretation reminded me of the Star Search youth category. But without the skill.   It was awesome and now we have a cat bell to tell where our daughter is.****
  7. We saw so many friends and family which was perfect.  I have been so blessed in this life time and it felt so special to have so many folks to pick right back up with-- squeeze kids, sit and contemplate life, celebrate birthdays, meet new boyfriends and just laugh and cry and celebrate without any filter. 
  8. I have a job. Through the last few months I have been consulting with some old friends which led me to an opportunity I was excited about.  It is very similar to the work I did in a past life but in a way that is much more entrepreneurial.  I am almost one month in and in general-- it's going well. I am re-adjusting to life in  a more structured world-- liking the ability to use my analytical side and work with a team.  It's been a little tricky on the family front-- I am on my third trip in the month and will be planning to travel twice a month or so for the next few months.   Matt is a champ however and we are making the appropriate modifications for me to have balance-- which frankly for me involves having something outside the home.  I could write a novel about my experience with trying to be a stay-at- home mom.  I may still one day-- but let's just say I have respect for all choices of mothering. It's a tough job-full time, part time, any time.  My brain is a busy place and my old friend insomnia is back in my life.  It isn't anxiety as much as excitement as I navigate new problems, organizations and the work environment.  We have launched our first few initiatives and I feel like I am winning some basic battles- so hopefully my enthusiasm intensity, obsession will settle in time as I get more comfortable in the role.
  9. We are back in Ketchikan and that feels really good too.  The weather has been tough-- cloudy and rainy but it's still such an incredibly beautiful place with such interesting folks.****   
  10. Last week I marked the 20th anniversary of my mom's passing.  Hard to believe that is the truth- but again, here we are.  I have a whole lot to say on that topic as well but it doesn't belong here.
Love to all of you who support us with such love.  We are grateful as always.
*Let's be real. . . Weeks.  It's important to  maintain my mystery.
**  Nana the source of all support and happiness.  She was INSANELY helpful in what ended up being a really long day.  I asked her to come to help with the kids but also because she is a positive force of nature.  I didn't know how I would do emotionally with the appointment and Matt wasn't there-- she proved to be incredibly awesome-- both on the kid front and the mom front.
***Which sang and lit up.  At Target, Matt and I saw it at the same time and both said. . . That is Awesome/Awful at the exact same time.  For the record- I am of the awesome persuasion- as was my daughter.
****The 12 dollar lights and sound dress isn't of the highest quality so goes off without notice from time to time.  But for 12 bucks I feel like I have already gotten my value out of it.
*****Have I mentioned that my neighbors include an artist and a sled dog racer?  Cool shit folks.  We have a sled team in our neighborhood.