A Revisit to the Break

There are moments that define who are. Some of them are happy ones. Like meeting the person who will become your spouse and partner in life or when your baby arrives. And there are some that aren’t happy. Some of the most important moments of your life are soul crushing. It’s like your heart’s a piece of paper, and someone’s ripping it up into a million little pieces and you have to try and put it all back again. Thankfully, my life hasn’t been filled with many of these. The one’s that have been part of me stick out in my mind like a hangnail – careful to not touch it but boy does it hurt when you do. I remember two of those three moments in my life very distinctly. The first was when I was standing in St. Al’s church reading what I had written at my Grandpa’s funeral – the paper ripped. The second was hearing my mom’s voice on the phone saying, “Amy, Grandma’s gone” – shreds everywhere.

The third moment in my life that changed everything I don’t remember exactly when I felt everything rip and change. It was a longer process, very slow and painful. Now, in the grand scheme of human life and experiences, this moment is nothing. Barely a blip on a radar compared to war and famine and cancer and death especially considering the day it happened – September 11th. A day were people all around the world remember people lost in the World Trade Center, and mourn for those trapped inside a collapsed building because of senseless violence, but for me that day will forever be associated with Ellabelle. In my world, in my own little scope of reality, the worst moment in my life (and hopefully ever) happened on that day.

See, I remember the call I got from the babysitter. “Ellabelle fell in the kitchen. She wouldn’t get up, and, when I changed her, she cried and grabbed her leg the whole time. I have her on the couch eating snacks, but I think you may want to come get her.” It’s seared into my brain. I had taken a half day at work, and we were headed to a Reds game because Josh works for the police department, and we got free tickets for 9/11. I wasn’t concerned because this kid falls all the time. I called Josh and he agreed that if the babysitter thought it was serious enough to call that we should go get her.

Sure enough, she was right where the babysitter said she was – laying on the couch, not moving at all – a strange sight for our rambunctious two year old. I made Josh pick her up and carry her. She screamed when he picked her up and clenched him tight and cried the whole way to the car. Then she screamed the entire way to the hospital. Every bump, every curve, every stop made her wail. I still tear up remembering the amount of pain she was in. We still thought it was nothing. Maybe she pulled a muscle. Maybe she bruised it weird, and the carseat was hitting it.

Once they confirmed that it was broken and that she’d be spending at least 4 weeks in a hip spica cast, I went into mom mode. There was no time to stress over how I was feeling. No time for me to process everything going on. All that mattered was that this tiny person was as happy and comfortable as I could make her. I couldn’t let her see me be upset or let her see my fear. She had to know that mommy was there and everything was going to be ok. It was a brutal day and overnight. She slept for maybe 30 minutes at a time and would cry out in pain. I was there every time she woke. The weeks that followed were hard on all of us. You could just see the light go out of her eyes. Her spunky spirit was gone. My focus was still on her and making her happy. It was so hard and draining on all of us. 10653676_10100676925298580_772091766708672198_n

After it was over, after the cast came off in October, it was like a weight had been lifted off of all of us. She immediately went back being to her happy little self, and I pushed the whole incident to the back of my mind, not to be revisited. This is the first time I’ve sat and really thought about and relived that day and those days that followed. It breaks my heart all over again. And even with it tucked away in the back of my mind, it still effects Josh and I every day. We are constantly hovering at playgrounds, always yelling “walk!”, holding our breathes when she wipes out in fear that she may not be able to stand back up on her own. It’s changed the way we parent her. For 11 hours we watched our baby lay in pain, be twisted around while she screamed, and helplessly stood by as she looked to us for help and no being able to provide it. Like I’ve said, it’s small in the scope of other people’s realities, but, for me, it was hell. And I’m thankful that a broken bone is the worst we’ve ever seen, and I hope that it will stay that way, but it is forever seared in my brain.

I am so thankful she has no idea any of it happened. I showed her a picture of her in her pink cast today, and she immediately thought it was a blanket. I guess the silver lining is that it happened while she was so young. I can’t imagine potty training or having already potty trained her and having to deal with the cast. I can’t imagine how it would’ve effected her if she could remember the pain and cast. She might be more hesitant on playgrounds or playing soccer, and while I might like that I wouldn’t want it to hold her back. I’m thankful she’s healing right, and that this can all just stay behind us. I just hope that Matilda isn’t anywhere near as clumsy as her sister. IMG_8493

Of a Cincinnati Labor Day

Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili. The rest of the world looks at this crazy concoction of soupy meat chili piled on spaghetti with a mountain of shredded cheese on top and thinks we are out of our minds. But it’s delicious and comforting for those of us who have grown up on the southwestern banks of the Ohio River. Now those three layers – spaghetti, chili, cheese – are great on their own, but it’s when you put them together that it’s perfect – a trifecta of Cincinnati perfection. And that’s exactly what our Labor Day weekend was too. Each day of this holiday weekend was a perfect little package unto itself, but together the three days were a beautifully layered farewell to summer.

Saturday – We spent the morning at Great American Ballpark. Every baby born at Good Sam or Bethesda North Hospital gets a packet to be a Reds Rookie. So because Miss Matilda was welcomed at a Trihealth hospital we got to be involved with a pretty cool program before the game. We got there at 10:30, and we got all kinds of free goodies from the sponsors. Josh checked in for the competition I signed him up to compete in while the Ellabelle danced around to the music. Mr. Redlegs and Gapper showed up and we got to take our picture with them. IMG_8896

This may have been the highlight of the day for me because I love Gapper more than baseball. Plus, Gapper was very sweet and even kissed Mattie on the head. IMG_8894

Surprisingly, Ellabelle walked right up Mr. Redlegs and gave him a hug. She’s usually terrified of people dressed up (like Wooly Bully at the CRG games), but she was excited to see him.

We did a lot of sitting around and waiting because there were a lot of babies to get in and do everything. So, we had over two and a half hours before the game to burn. Josh competed in the Daddy Bottle Chugging contest. IMG_8902

He had to suck down a bottle of warm apple juice. Unfortunately, two of the guys cheated (one even ripped the nipple off to suck it down which was not the point of the game), and the judges decided to allow it because they never specifically said that you couldn’t do what they did. However, they had to follow the real rules during the second round. It’s ok though. Josh didn’t really want to chug a warm bottle a second time. IMG_8904

We walked around some. I took Mattie to the mommy suite, and it was amazing. I would’ve spent the whole game there if I could’ve. Plus, it was air conditioned. It was 90* the entire day, and we were stuck out in the open sunlight. We tried out best to hide out in the shade for a while. IMG_9046 Ellabelle did amazing considering the wait time. She kept trying to go towards the field and the seats because she wanted to watch “football.” I did attempt to correct her to begin with, but I gave up quickly. I mean, she calls tennis, golf, hockey, and basketball “football” too so it’s a losing battle. She played on the playground they have there for awhile and that kept her happy.

Eventually, we got to line up for the baby parade on the field. That was definitely a cool part of the experience too. IMG_8916

I remember being in grade school and getting to go on the field at Riverfront Stadium. So I’ve officially been on both fields now. Ellabelle seemed to actually enjoy it too. I was worried because for a three year old walking slowly in a straight line with a bunch of people is the equivalent of hell, but she was totally chill and kept up with us. IMG_9008IMG_8953

We headed to our seats after we made in back into the stadium, and it was awful! Let me tell you – drinks with no lids + a stroller + a hot and tired toddler + a 3 month old + two flights of stairs to get to the roughly 50 stairs up to seat + the unforgiving sun beating down = the most difficult endeavor since I went grocery shopping with kids alone. So, yes, we made it to our seats that ended up being right in the sun. Josh was ready to turn around and lug everything back down the stairs. Thankfully, an old man came over told us they had 5 seats but were only using 2 so we could come use them to get the baby out of the sun since they were up in the shade. We moved and got settled. Josh fed Mattie, and I tried to hydrate Ellabelle. IMG_9040

She sat with her fingers in her ears complaining that “football” is too loud. We were right under the speakers so I don’t blame her for that. We got Mattie’s picture taken with her first game certificate, and made it to the third inning. IMG_9031 That’s when I noticed that Ellabelle was shaking, and it was becoming more and more noticeable. So we decided that we needed to head out. We hydrated and napped once we got home because the sun had zapped all the life out of us, but it was such a special day that it was worth the heat.

That's us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie's tutu and me on the right!
That’s us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie’s tutu and me on the right!

Sunday – We woke up planning to clean, but there was a disturbance in the force, and we had to go to Target and check it out. To translate that out of nerd talk: the new Star Wars toys came out on Friday, and Josh was antsy to go see them. IMG_8849

We did make it home to clean (laundry is my nemesis), and, as a reward, Josh got to go to the Disney store to see the exclusive toys. Unfortunately, they were all out of our price range so he only got to look.

Model pose with the stormtrooper
Model pose with the stormtrooper

What was important was that we spent some quiet downtime as a family. It was a slow day with no set times to be anywhere. It was a nice change of pace since it seems like every day has something scheduled anymore.

Monday – Oma and Lisa invited Ellabelle and I to go to Smale Park. Mattie stayed home with daddy and watched him play video games all day. (Hey, it was his holiday. Whatever floats his boat.) Lisa brought along one of her friends kids, Ava, and Ellabelle was so excited to have a playmate. IMG_9101

We walked through the beautiful park and made our way to the water fountains. We decided to ride the carousel first because you can’t ride it once you’re wet.

We all rode the first time. Ellabelle wanted to ride a horsey, and we picked the Oktoberfest horse. IMG_9105 IMG_9110

Lisa rode the gorilla. Oma rode an Ohio River catfish. I thought the fish looked like it was made for a child rider, but Oma totally fit. IMG_9304

The second time on Ellabelle wanted to ride the Bengals tiger. I kept asking her, “What does a tiger say?”
“Roar!”
“What do you say?”
“Who Dey!” That’s my girl.

We played in the fountains after that. Even Oma participated which tells you just how hot it was! IMG_9172

My poor Ellabelle is so clumsy, and the water didn’t help. She wiped out twice. IMG_9303

The second time she fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. She stood up, weaved past Ava and Lisa, and found me. I hate to see her hurt, but it’s nice to feel like my independent girl needs me still. The tears were wiped away, and the boo boo was quickly forgotten.IMG_9174IMG_9159

We played on the playground after that. The girls loved the slide. They went up and down multiple times. Ellabelle had a hard time keeping up with Ava cause she’s just so much smaller. IMG_9222 IMG_9226

She found and liked the drums. She’s obsessed with playing the drums on everything (including the poor dog) so she definitely liked this feature at the playground. IMG_9228

There’s a bunch of exercise type stuff, and Ellabelle threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her run off with Ava. I wanted her to see the giant piano, but she was not impressed. That’s what happens when 3 year olds don’t get their much needed afternoon nap.IMG_9179 IMG_9180IMG_9182

We found another water area, and the girls loved that too.IMG_9192 IMG_9194 IMG_9196

There was just so much to see and do. Smale Park is definitely a place to go to spend the whole afternoon. My girl was worn out! IMG_9188

After we finally headed back from the park, Oma took us to Putz’s. Lisa had never been, and it was Ellabelle’s first time too. I got her an Ice Man, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it.

IMG_9232 Putz’s is one of those places that’s been around forever. I remember my dad always taking us there in his mustang when I was younger. It was somewhere we went with day camp too. So it was nice to share a place with a lot of memories with Ellabelle and my mom. IMG_9234

It was another hot day so we just laid around once we got home, but it was the prefect ending to our weekend.

Each day of the weekend was good on its own – baseball, family togetherness, water fun – but together they were perfect. Quiet bookended with Cincinnati activities. I love my city, and I love sharing it with Ellabelle and Mattie. Each layer perfect and Cincy filled. It was wonderful holiday weekend. IMG_9094

Projects

So, I hate sitting around and doing nothing. I feel like it’s a total waste of time. So, I keep my hands busy. All my projects have seemed to revolve around my girls since they’ve gotten here, and lately has been no exception.

Project #1 – Baseball

We went to the Reds game this weekend, and the actual MLB merchandise is so expensive that I knew I’d have to make the girls outfits for the day.

Mattie’s was fairly simple – paint red stitches on a white onesie so she looked like a tiny baseball. A little sparkly red puffy paint, and that was done. A twist here, a dab of hot glue there, and a bow was added to the outfit too. IMG_8892

I made her a red and white tutu out of tulle to go with it. I was covered in glitter by the time I finished making it, and she was covered in it by the time it came off. I will not be using glitter tulle again, but she did look absolutely adorable. IMG_9045

Ellabelle’s was a little more work. I bought a white bandana and used it as my material for the design. I cut it out the shape of Ohio and used fabric glue to apply it the shirt. I removed the sleeves for her and added some white ribbon for bows cause I knew that it was going to be hot. IMG_8886

Project #2 – Bath Chart

With two kids and two cats and a dog and a house to keep up on, its easy to lose track of what day it is. So, in order to keep track of at least bath times, I wanted to create a chart. I’m a list maker so having it right there in front of me eliminates the conversation that happens more than I’d like to admit – “What day is it? Did (insert name here) get a bath yesterday or the day before?”

So, we bought a magnetic dry erase board. It was cheap and easy to find since it’s back to school time. Add a few lines and names and *bing-bang-boom* you got yourself a bath chart. I used colored card stock in 7 different colors and added the days of the week to them. IMG_8836

Slap on a piece of magnet, and we just switch them out with each bath, and we’ll never wonder which kid is the stinky one again. IMG_8834

Project #3 – Christmas Shirt for EB

So, the most recent project I made was a tshirt for Ellabelle for christmas time. I knew what I wanted it to say and found a few online, but they were all very masculine. I’m not opposed to putting Ellabelle in boys clothing, but these were all very dark colored with weird fonts so I decided to make my own girlier version. I found this wonderful leather type of material in the felt aisle at Hobby Lobby. IMG_8865

I cut out the words IMG_8864 

lined them up, and used my trusty fabric glue to put them on the shirt. IMG_8867

Much prettier than the boys ones. Now all she needs is a pair of christmas pants or a skirt to go with it.

I’m currently working on some more things (not big surprise there) that I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait to finish them and share more!

Of busy bees and moving on from 27

Bees are notorious for being busy. They do actually have a type of bee sleep that happens occasionally. They just kinda stop moving, and their body cools down and then they get back to work. It’s very impressive that they take time to slightly slumber considering a beehive itself is busy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And that was us this weekend. For the past few days, we’ve buzz buzz buzzed around doing things and stopped moving briefly to cool down in between.
Friday Josh took off of work so we could paint our porch. We had Auntie Ang and Oma and Opa watch the Trouble Twins so we could just get it done. After we dropped them off and got back home, we got to work. Let us remember, that we started to paintthe porch the same color is already was a few weeks ago. Well, the property manager didn’t like that and told us that our blue-for-the-past-4-years porch HAD to be white. So we had to start from scratch. It was a beast of a project that I totally underestimated. We had to paint the front porch, the railing, the lattice, the side of the back porch, the back stairs, and the shed. Then our property manager decided to throw us a curveball and decided our shutters had to be painted too. ((insert angry growl here))
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Well we got the front porch and railing and lattice and back steps done before we ran out of paint. We were also hot and sweaty and out of time. So we had to call it a day (our not used to manual labor backs were grateful).
Before
Before
After
After
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Saturday was probably our busiest day. It started with a beautiful morning for family pictures at Ault Park. Ellabelle actually behaved (much to our surprise), and Mattie didn’t (any even bigger surprise.) I think we got some amazing shots through and can’t wait to see the finished products. IMG_8417
After pictures, we made a quick stop to Kenwood Mall, then we headed home because it was time to get ready for Oktoberfest! I, of course, made Mattie a special little German girl outfit, and Ellabelle wore her shirt we bought her last year and daddy’s chicken (“kicken”) hat. IMG_8421IMG_8423
We love Oktoberfest because it’s an excuse to sit around and eat amazing food and drink (in Josh’s case). He had three beers, and he was gone. He’s become such a lightweight. We ate sauerkraut balls and hot metts and I got half a famous Oktoberfest chicken. IMG_8432
It looks absolutely disgusting (like a hairless car laying in a styrofoam to go box) was so good and totally worth the grease stains on my shirt. I have to say though, there’s no ladylike or polite way to eat half a chicken. Oh and creme puffs! Those followed dinner, and they are probably the best part of the whole event. (No picture because we ate them too fat because we’re fat kids) We usually go to the fest on Friday night, but we went on Saturday afternoon this year so sadly we missed the chicken dance. We also missed the polka player, and I even taught Ellabelle to yell, “Oy! Oy! Oy!” after they say, “Ziggy zoggy! Ziggy zoggy!” Oh well. It’s a good skill to have.
Sunday we had to finish work on the house. Josh went and bought wood to replace on our shed. He had to attach it while I painted the front steps to match the porch. IMG_8491
Then I painted two sides of the shed and part of the shudders. Ellabelle was a huge help ((sarcasm)) with her bubbles, and Mattie was a huge help with insisting on being held. IMG_8488IMG_8486
He finished the rest on his own because I had to take my little soccer star to practice. It was so hot, but she did much better at participating. IMG_8507
She didn’t try and sleep in the goal, and she interacted with the other kids. There was only one time she wondered off the field because she was hot and tired. She was reluctant to play the games they do to teach basic soccer skills but I managed to convince her to at least try. She only wants to play soccer. She’s always so over the busywork (just like me). So when the last 5 minutes come, she’s ecstatic because it’s a scrimmage. She ran around like a nut, laughing her head off, and kicked the ball twice! IMG_8509
She’s improved so much between the first and second week. It’s amazing to me. We stopped and got ice cream on the way home. She picked superman and proudly told daddy when she showed him. Josh still wasn’t done with all the work when we got home, and I had to help him get the shutters back on the house.
We ended the weekend hot and exhausted. We had a pretty calm Monday. It was nice little break before my birthday festivities started. Tuesday we went out to dinner to Logan’s with Oma, Opa, and Auntie Ang. Ellabelle was awful at dinner – jumping over Angie and refusing to eat and the making a scene because she had an audience. We had whippy cupcakes afterward, and I got some very nice presents.
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Wednesday was my birthday, we went over and went swimming with Oma. Ellabelle was so excited to be there with Oma. IMG_8696 Much to my surprise, my little hates-the-bath baby didn’t cry at all when I put her in the water. She even smiled a few times. IMG_8701
Once Josh got off work, we went out to dinner and went to Target. The girls got me a necklace and a bracelet. IMG_8559
My gift from Josh isn’t here yet. I did get a lovely note and blank check to cash in for a proper birthday from Josh.
So like I said, buzzing bees around here. It’s been so busy I’ve hardly had to time to really let the whole turning 28 thing set in. Normally, I have a moment to sit back and wonder how I’ve made it this far when I feel like I was just turning 24. My brain seems stuck at 24. For some reason, that’s the age I always seem to immediately think I am. This year my little sister passed that age so who knows when my brain is ever gonna jump forward.
27 has come and gone for me. It was an interesting year to say the least. Not long after turning 27, I found out that we were going to be going from a family of 3 to a family of 4. Of course, Ellabelle had broken her leg only 9 days after my birthday and those 6 weeks that followed were some of the worse in my life. My pregnancy was very hard on me (yet again). I ended up in the ER three times before the end of 2014. (A fourth time would follow before she was actually born). I was having trouble breathing, and no one could figure out why and they couldn’t give me a chest xray. So, due to all the complications and doctors visits, I missed too much work and since the county does a 300 day probation, I lost my job. It was a really tough thing for me. I don’t like to lose or fail at things, and it felt like I had failed somehow. I was also really upset because I felt like it was all out of my control. I still don’t like to talk about it because I had honestly thought I had found my big girl job and was done. Yet, here I am. 28 now and still no where closer to being on a career path. I feel like I’ve let Josh down and my kids down and myself down in the job department this year. But, trying to see the positives, which is what I try to do now as much as possible, I’m a stay at home mom again, and I get to spend so much extra time with my awesome (depending on the time of day) kids. IMG_8576
Besides losing my job, 27 was pretty quiet for the first half. May was a big deal for us because we added this little cupcake to our family. IMG_8598 Having her here is amazing and wonderful. She’s just the sweetest little thing who’s so happy 90% of the time. (The other 10% is when she’s hungry or tired). She’s just made out family complete, and her big sister adores her. I cannot believe I’m the mother to two beautiful little girls. IMG_7778
We had a tough time when we brought Mattie home because she lost a lot of weight in her first week. So the doctor told us we had to get her to eat her full 2oz every two hours. So that meant we had to be up EVERY. TWO. HOURS. Just thinking back on it makes me exhausted. She also wasn’t very interested in eating all of her formula. So, there we were, one of us gently pinching and blowing air and tickling and taking off her jammies to try and get her awake. Thankfully, she’s a big piglet now and caught up on weight within the 1st month.
Other than adjusting to two kids since May our lives have fallen into a normal routine. My 27th year has kinda leveled out here at the end, and that’s ok. You don’t want big changes when your still learning to keep all your balls in the air. I mean, I’m still looking for work, but other than that waters have been very calm. 28 is going to be an exciting year because we have a lot of firsts to encounter again with Mattie, and Ellabelle is becoming more and more aware of things so I think Christmas is going to be AHmazing this year. So, I happily just continue on into 28. It’s gonna be a fun year. I can just tell. IMG_8622