The Ants Go Marching…

On a whim, George and I decided to create a fundraising team for the March of Dimes, and actually take all four babies to participate. This was a major feat for us. First of all, we just came off lock down at the beginning of the month so we are still germ-fearing and highly protective of our brood. Plus, we are extremely rigid with our schedule, and the walk was scheduled to occur during the morning nap. Despite all of our reservations, we knew the March of Dimes was a cause close to our hearts and worthy of true support: walking the walk. Since very little prior planning was involved, we knew there was a real possibility it would be the two of us waking four babies too early and hauling them into a mass of people. Fortunately, my sister graciously met at our house to help get the babies ready and to join us. George’s aunt and youngest cousin, Brandi also met us to walk the walk.

I haven't the foggiest idea why the parking lot for the walk was behind locked gates.  We had to scrounge up some muscle to hoist four babies loaded into the Runabout over it.

I haven’t the foggiest idea why the parking lot for the walk was behind locked gates, but it made reaching the starting line dicey for us.. We had to scrounge up some muscle to hoist four babies in the Runabout over it.

If you look behind us, there is a glimpse of the crowd marching by.

If you look behind us, there is a glimpse of the crowd marching by.

Mamma's gotta keep tabs on her little quadlings.

Mamma’s gotta keep tabs on her little quadlings.

Being rookies to the March of Dimes, George and I didn’t know what to expect or how to prepare. I am horrible at estimating distances and numbers so there could have been 1,000 walkers or 100,000. Regardless of the actual number, I can say there were people as far as the eye could see and the entire trail was packed. By far this is the most public event we’ve attended with the babies. The path was gridlocked with families and friends marching for a united cause, and it was moving to say the least. We enjoyed seeing all the team t-shirts and learning about the stories behind them. Our hearts were touched by several families walking for preemies much smaller than even Sydney (she was 2 lbs, 6 oz) and in remembrance of the tiniest of family members. It was a solemn reminder never to take our babies’ health for granted and to always remember the medical staff who helped us along the journey. We have a team of perinatologists who helped us keep the babies healthy prior to delivery and then an entire NICU staff who cared for our fragile preemies.

Here is some of our off road action.

Most of the walk, the crowd trudged along at a snails’ pace, which did not make for happy babies. Several times we went off the trail so we could run instead. Our babies enjoy a grueling pace! George and I realized we aren’t in the best of shape anymore…we were rather winded.

I'm not sure if Mason was fed up with his sister badgering him or if he was just totally tuckered out.

I’m not sure if Mason was fed up with his sister badgering him or if he was just totally tuckered out.

Mason found his happy place with Aunt CiCi!

Mason found his happy place with Aunt CiCi!

Even in a large crowd of thousands, a quad stroller is not the most conspicuous. Needless to say, we attracted a great deal of attention. As far as comments and questions, we heard nothing but niceties. Many people shared the notion we believe to be true: “you are blessed!” I beamed each time a passerby told us that and I always will. I don’t recall any rude commentary. However, the paparazzi was in full force. George and I are becoming accustomed to questions and photo requests. The paparazzi is different. They don’t bother to ask questions or dole out compliments. They gawk and snap pictures from their iphones then paste them up on their social networks. I presume I shall eventually get used to that sort of thing, but it made me feel totally violated. After all, I have no idea what happened to pictures snapped of us after the fact. I’m not sure I’ve ever intentionally taken a photo of a stranger without their knowledge or consent, but I will think twice about it if I ever get a notion to do so. That bit of drama aside, we had a great walk together as a family and plan to keep the tradition alive. Next year, we would like to coordinate better and rally a team to join us in the walk. We even brainstormed about creating team t-shirts in the same shade of blue as our stroller.

Ta da!  We made it through the finish line with four babies in tow!

Ta da! We made it through the finish line with four babies in tow!

As we crossed the finish line, each baby received a sticker like this one.  We slapped them on the backs of their onsies since they'd eat them otherwise.

As we crossed the finish line, each baby received a sticker like this one. We slapped them on the backs of their onsies since they’d eat them otherwise.

The finish line was far too crowded for a photo op so we settled for the March of Dimes Bell Helicopter.

The finish line was far too crowded for a photo-op so we settled for the March of Dimes Bell Helicopter.

09-IMG_4537

Brandi helped keep Rylin happy while Carol snuggled a sleeping Harper.

12-IMG_4544

By the end of the march, we had to bail three babies from the stroller. Only Sydney remained, contently chattering about the event. With only Sydney in the stroller, Courtney was able to help George lift the Runabout over the railing to the van.

11-IMG_4542

Grandaddy opted out of the walk, but patiently waited for us at the end and dutifully helped load fussing babies into the van.

Since Courtney joined us for the walk, I let her sit shotgun while I shimmied between the boys in the back of the van.  I realized they've been fooling me into thinking they nap in the van.  Turns out they are quiet, but look like this!

Since Courtney joined us for the walk, I let her sit shotgun while I shimmied between the boys in the back of the van. I realized they’ve been fooling me into thinking they nap in the van. Turns out they are quiet, but look like this!

The girls didn't conk out either. ..Sitting in the back of the van I saw eight little eyes staring back at me!

The girls didn’t conk out either. ..Sitting in the back of the van I saw eight little eyes staring back at me!

What causes are close to your heart?

hugs!

Amber

We would like to extend a special thanks to the following people who donated in honor of our team:

Karen Cox

Christina Childress

Angie Owens

Kristen Klatt

Courtney Zehnder

Brandi Steele

Carol Vincell

8 thoughts on “The Ants Go Marching…

  1. Congrats on doing the walk! We did it the first time last year and ran into a similarly difficult point of entry. I had to walk down a giant hill at White Rock Lake with all three babies in their giant choo choo wagon on a road without a sidewalk! Justin was parking the car and didn’t realize how crazy the walk down was, but thankfully another walker stayed with us to make sure we got down safely. March for Babies really ought to think that through! We would love to meet up with you guys for it next year. 🙂

    And we’ve experienced the paparazzi as well. It seems to have tapered off now that the kids are a little older, but I completely agree with you…it is violating and weird and I am pretty blunt with people (after the first couple of times it happened) that it’s not ok. I’ve actually stopped a couple of people and asked them to erase the images from their cameras.

    Like

    • Seriously, they should consider the fact that there will be tons of babies and strollers there! They could have easily unlocked the gate too. Yes, we need to walk together next year! We will plan better next time.

      I probably should ask people to delete images. They are being rude and need to learn some manners! When people are polite and ask permission (assuming they are not creepy), I refer them to our blog because all images there are watermarked.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s