To Mattie on her 2nd birthday

To my dear sweet Matilda,

You are two years old today. Two whole years you’ve been earthside. It feels like you were just placed in my arms to be wheeled to recovery yesterday, but also like you’ve been apart of our lives forever. I cannot imagine our lives without you, and I don’t know how we ever lived without your sweet face. You are always a ray of sunshine. Every morning, daddy gets you out of bed and you come toddling through the house and down the hallway making a beeline to mommy. You want to be picked up and snuggled before you’re ready to start your day. And if I happen to get you up, you always snuggle right back into me. You are a mama’s girl and I ain’t mad about it.

You are just a big ball of energy. You make the silliest faces. You are constantly dancing even when there’s no music. 

You love being a little girly girl – putting on every necklace, bracelet, ring, and hat you can find. You do a little shoulder shrug when you’re feeling pretty. You’ve always been in love with your reflection. I always hold you up in front of the bathroom mirror after bath and ask “who is that?” You’ve always smiled and giggled. Recently, you’ve discovered the full length mirror on our bedroom door. You love to look at, dance, and kiss your reflection. 

You have found your little voice and your vocabulary grows by the day. All we have say is “I smell baby feet,” and you yell, “Mah feet!” and hide your toes cause you know we’re about to cover those little piggys in kisses. You’re so polite and say “thank you” and “bless you” all the time. You just learned to say “Ellabelle” and it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard. But your favorite thing to say is “I walk!” because you refuse to be held back anymore.

I love that you’re still waiting for those teeth on each side of your front bottom four to come in. They’ve finally started poking through, but I love your little grin with the spots missing.

 

You occasionally you cross your fingers for some reason, and it freaks your daddy out. You hate when there’s anything on your hands, and insist on having a napkin or having me wipe it off.

 

You hate wearing shoes and tear them off your feet as soon as you get in the car or at home. You also the do the strangest thing with your shoes and socks. You like the take just one shoe and/or sock off and leave the other one on. You just walk around like that.

 

Every time I’m eating, you wander over from your table and slyly ask “Want bite” in hopes that i’ll share whatever I’m eating. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same exact thing you have on your plate, you still want mama’s.

 

You always wanna see what I’m doing in the kitchen. You love throwing stuff in the trash. You love getting things out of the fridge especially your cup. You get so excited and yell “milk!” when you see it.

 

Your true love is still your “pay-pay.” You get mad when daddy pretends to use it. If you come across a different one, you’ll take the one in your mouth out and switch them. If you see food, however, you take it out of your mouth and you throw it. Like throw it. We lose a lot of them because of this.

 

You are such a sweet happy baby, but you seem to live in extremes because when you aren’t happy. You really aren’t happy. You have monumental tantrums. You throw yourself down on the spot and kick and thrash and scream. You did this at Ellabelle’s soccer game this past Monday. You wanted to walk across the bridge, but it was a bit of a downward slope so I helped you down it. And you LOST it. You literally threw yourself face forward on the grass and screamed and kicked. It’s ridiculous and hilarious and we have to try to not to laugh at you.
You are easy going and a handful all at the same time. I love your kisses, your hugs, and smooching those big squishy cheeks. I didn’t know I needed you until you got here, but I’m so grateful to you for picking me to be your mommy. I love you, my Mattie Monster. Happy Birthday! 

Love,

Mommy 

Preschool drama & my poor mama heart 

Ellabelle has this friend at school. She always talks about her.

“What’d you do today?”
“Played with Willow.”
Repeat daily.

She’s even asked if Willow can come to her birthday party in July. This kid seemed like BFF status the past few weeks.

I took Ellabelle into school one Monday, and Willow was already there. It makes my mornings so much easier cause I can get her to let me leave quickly and without incident cause she wants to go play with Willow. So I sent her off and had a mommy moment of watching my girl run off to play with her friend. Too my dismay, Willow yelled, “No! Get away! I don’t want to play with you!” and then pushed Ellabelle.

Ellabelle, realizing I was still standing there, came running over to me crying. My heart was shattered. All I wanted to do was scoop up my girl and run out of there and take her to get ice cream because I love her and she’s one of my favorite people in the whole world and no one should ever treat her like that. My mind was in hyperdrive. Thankfully, the teacher stepped in and took both girls and talked to them. And I fled.

I was shook up in the car. This little girl is the sun in the middle of my universe (along with her sister). She made me a mama. She is smart and funny and kind. I couldn’t wrap my head around what I saw. Josh thankfully talked me through my moment of mommy panic because he’s more level headed than I am.
I hate that my sweet innocent girl experienced something so, shall we say, “grown up.” Her sweet soul doesn’t understand these things. It’s clean and pure and free of this sort of nastiness from other people. Eventually, the world is going to break her down and tarnish her with the ugly truths. But she’s only 4. I didn’t think these things start this early. I’m sure they do and, rationally, I know this is normal. I’m just not ready to have people be mean to my kid.

The next day after school, Ellabelle complained in the car that Willow wouldn’t play with her again. So we advised her to play with someone else instead. And she did on Wednesday, and she seemed fine. Then the next day, when I dropped her off, she ran into the classroom and joined a boy playing a game and he yelled, “We don’t want you playing!”

It’s a rough time for a delicate momma heart. She seems like such a little baby to me still. This mama bird wants to keep her baby in the nest and protect her. Josh swears this will be how she learns social norms and how to act around people. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I was picked on and made fun of and felt like an outcast for all of grade school. I don’t want Ellabelle (or Matilda) to grow up with insecurities and self doubt simply because of other kids. And I know the most important thing is to make sure they both know they have a safe place at home with accepting and open arms.

We all want the best for our kids. We all want people to love or at least be nice to our kids. Unfortunately, that’s not how life always goes. I will teach my girls to be kind to everyone. I will also teach them how to properly handle when someone isn’t nice to them. I have to let my little birds leave the nest and test their wings. I’m just gonna have to to grow a tougher skin on this mama heart of mine.

 

29.5

Today’s my half birthday. Twenty nine and a half. 6 months til the big 30. I used to love my half birthday. It was always exciting. I’m a weirdo and always made a bigger deal out of it than most people.

12 1/2 meant I was almost a teenager. I couldn’t wait to be 15 1/2 to go get my temps. 20 1/2 meant 6 more months til I was 21. But there’s no looking forward to being 30.

Our society puts so much emphasis on youth and beauty. We don’t take care of our old. They get very little government support. They have the worst health care coverage. Many are left in nursing homes to die as if they’re a burden. Old people should be celebrated, but, they aren’t. So what’s the appeal of growing old?

Josh told me that at 30 you start to come to terms with your mortality. I mean that does make sense. Most people have jobs and kids and responsibilities. Once you enter your 30s you kinda know where you’re going to be for the majority of the rest of your life.

I had a case at work this week that really bothered me. This old lady had killed herself at her nursing home, and I had to sort through the requested photos of the scene (my job is weird and disturbing sometimes). What bothered me most about the room was how empty it was. No pictures. No personal items. No blanket from home. Not even a plant. The room was empty of anything that showed this women was loved by someone. Now, I didn’t have the whole story obviously. All I know about her and her back story came off a Deceased Person form. The picture painted by the room though was enough.

I don’t want to end up alone. I want my children to come visit me. I want to have so many fond memories that I have too many photos scattered around. I don’t want to be old and in a diaper and stuck in a nursing home with no hope. I know it’s inevitable (hopefully not the nursing home part) and maybe this is what dealing with my mortality is. I just don’t want to come to a day in my life where I have no hope for the future. It seems like such a horrible place to be.

And now that I’ve thoroughly depressed myself about getting older, let’s focus back on the now. I’m still young! Well, sorta. I am an 84 year old Yiddish grandmother named Eunice on the inside. She likes to knit and bake and talk about how foolish youths are, but I’ve still got plenty of life left to live. I get to wake up and feel the sunshine and hug and kiss my babies (who are still little babies) and run without too many pains and eat without worrying about how my stomach will handle it. 30 isn’t old. 30 is just the beginning of a different type of life stage.

I’ve made a 30 before 30 bucket list back when I turned 29, and I’ve been working on it a little bit. Statistically, at this point, I should have 15 of them done. I definitely don’t. I also had to go back in and change a few because they just ain’t gonna happen (like going tubing when it’s been in the 60s all winter). So here’s my full list and what I’ve accomplished so far:

30 before thirty

  1. Go berry picking with my girls
  2. Go on a hayride
  3. Play in the rain with the girls
  4. Knit 10 scarfs to donate
  5. Get hair professionally dyed
  6. Write at least once a month
  7. Pay off a bill
  8. Fix the roof
  9. Organize the house completely
  10. Fix/replace the oven
  11. Go on a family vacation
  12. Get another tattoo
  13. Save $1000
  14. Lose 30 pounds
  15. Finish painting the kitchen
  16. Family portraits taken
  17. Paint pottery
  18. Make a cake entirely from scratch
  19. Visit Carew Tower view deck
  20. Visit Sunlight Pool
  21. Run some sort of race
  22. Take Josh to the Taste of Cincinnati
  23. Go camping
  24. Got out to a fancy dinner
  25. Own a king size bed
  26. Make smores
  27. Donate my hair
  28. Make $50 on etsy
  29. Go see a dermatologist
  30. Make something out of blown glass

So here’s what I’ve accomplished:

– go on a hayride
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-fix/replace the oven
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-family portraits taken
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-go out to a fancy dinner (Anniversary at the Melting Pot)
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-own a king size bed
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-make $50 on etsy
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So I’ve only actually finished 6. I’ve got about four currently in the works though. So it’s not too bad. Some of them are rather lofty goals anyways. So yeah, 6 months left to kick this list into gear. 6 months til I become “old” whatever that means. 6 months til a trip with my Joshie to celebrate another year.
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Brought to you by the letter “F”

Fascinating.
Fickle.
Firstborn.
Feminine.
Fierce.
Finicky.
Fun.
Fashionable.
Foolish.
Free-spirited.
Fabulous.
Funny.
Feisty.
Fearless.
Four. IMG_4242

How far we’ve come in 4 short years. It seems like it’s flown by and yet like you’ve been a part of our lives forever. There are more words than I have the time to say to describe the fascinating little person you are. Four years ago, you were ushered into this world in quite an over the top fashion – a 12 minute c-section is far from ordinary. Then for 2 hours you cleared your lungs but you didn’t make a peep. There’s an idea that you enter the world crying from your past life. I’ve said from the start that that means you’re a fresh little soul. Maybe that’s why everything seems like a learning experience with you. You barrel through life wanting to see and experience everything. You’re fast and opinioned and ready to take everything head on, and everyone better get out of your way.
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You are my mini-me which means we butt heads – A LOT. It also means I understand you and the way your mind works. You are a true joy when you aren’t being a pain. You dance and giggle and chase bubbles and butterflies. You love to make your sister laugh and snuggle with me and your daddy. You are so smart and clever. You say little things that just make my heart smile. You are really just the most wonderful little person. I love the free spirit you continue to develop as you grow. IMG_0052

You are also extremely ornery and strong willed, and you make being a parent very, very hard sometimes. You fight and push, and I know that you will be able to harness and use these traits to your advantage someday, but for now, it makes our lives hard sometimes. Some days I wish I had a receipt so I could return you. Then, you lay on the couch and tell me about the pokemon you found and have stuck in your pocket or who your new Tsum Tsum is on your game, and I remember why I keep you around. You really are the gentlest soul inside a sometimes rugged exterior. I know all too well how it feels to have too many emotions to handle, and I’m sure it’s even harder when your four and can’t properly deal with them. I know that’s why you scream and cry and cause a scene in a grocery store. There’s just too much for you to deal with all at once. It will get easier. I promise. I’ve been there. IMG_4105

You are a true balancing act to deal with every single day. It also the greatest privilege to be your mommy. I love you and look forward to watching you and your mind grow as you learn and experience more of the world. I promise to protect you from all the evils in every way that I can, and to teach you love and compassion towards everyone. Be you. Be(You)tiful. I’m sure you’ll tire of hearing it, but thank you for picking me to be your mommy. It was what I was born to do. I wished and hoped and longed for my own baby, and I was lucky enough to get you. Thank you for being my dreams come true. Happy fourth birthday to my sweet baby bee. IMG_4262

 

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

Super Bee is Three!

Dear Super Bee,

I can hardly believe that today marks the third anniversary of your birth. It’s been an amazing ride so far – exhausting but amazing. You have grown into the most inquisitive and funny little person. You keep us all so entertained and constantly on our toes. 11760094_10100982091088890_4911672204150809867_n

You can play by yourself so well and then be climbing all over us. You love wrestling with daddy, and watching “Girls” with mommy. You’re speaking so much more clearly and can tell us exactly what you want for the most part. You love shoes and hats and dresses. You are obsessed with the twinkle lights that come on in your room every day, and you have to have your fan on whenever you’re in bed. You love to go look at toys at Walmart/Target, and you know immediately that the blue oval sign means that we’re at the grocery store and that you have make sure we know that you “need” to walk.

There is so much I see of myself in you. Your love of books. Your need to do things your way. Your need to do things on your schedule. The ridiculous crinkle nerdy face you make. The look you give when someone tells you not to do something and you know you’re going to do it anyways. But all of those things are still so uniquely you. You are such a lively little character. From singing and dancing in public and putting on a show for anyone who will watch to throwing a fit when we drive past Oma and Opa’s exit on the highway and not stopping to yelling, “I happy!” and jumping up and down when you are, well, really happy about something.

Every day comes with new challenges as you get bigger and braver and smarter. You are stubborn and ornery at all the wrong times. It drives me crazy in the moment, but I know it’ll make you unstoppable when you’re older. You are so curious about the world. You love to mimic us in every way. Just the other day you told me that you had to cook in your kitchen and showed me the toy croissant in your frying pan. After we read your bedtime story to you, you read it to us, trying to repeat each page that was just read to you. You told me just today that you need to take your bus to school and that you need books for school. It amazes me the things you are able to link together.

As a mom, I feel like it’s my job to teach you all kinds of things. You can identify almost all of the letters of the alphabet and can count to 10. What amazes me though is that you are constantly teaching me new things. Like patience. Not because you show me patience, but because I need more and more of it when dealing with your stubbornness on a daily basis. You’ve also been teaching me to be carefree. Like this past weekend and today, things didn’t go as planned for your birthday, and you didn’t even notice. You just just roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation. There’s fun no matter what the circumstances, and I hope that you stay that way forever. I am so not like that. I like order and I like plans and I like things to go the way I want. But motherhood (and life) isn’t like that. Things change in a matter of seconds from chasing bubbles to a scrapped knee. I don’t handle it as well as I’d like, but I watch you with your casual shoulder shrug and a soft mumble of gibberish and you’re off to the next adventure. I will continue to work on being looser in that respect. I never want to be a reason you hold back from doing something fun just because it’s challenging for me.

Something that amazes me on a daily basis is the how you’ve shown me a love that I didn’t honestly expect to see from you. At least not in the way and amount you’ve given. You became a big sister this year, and your love for your MattieG is amazing. You are a wild child – running around and singing at the top of your lungs – but you are so sweet and gentle with her. You wait for things you want while we feed her. You are always so concerned about getting her her pacifier. You tuck her in and give her kisses. She’s the first person you look for in the morning. It is so much more than I could’ve ever hoped and I hope you’re relationship with her only continues down this path.

You made me a mom, kid. And my gratitude to you for that will never waiver. Not even when I’m 90 and you’re 66. I will still be thanking you for picking me to be your momma. You changed everything and made the world so much brighter. I just know you’ll keep spreading your personal sunshine with everyone you meet, and I am so lucky I get to call you mine.

I love you, my sweet EllieBee. 11403010_10100981807966270_3565912143956527127_n

So Long 26 and The Tale of the Pink Cast

So, my birthday post never actually came to fruition. I had plans to write one, of course, but it never actually came together into an actual post. So, now, here it is 20 days after the fact, and I’m attempting to at least make amends to age 26 for neglecting it. I guess part of the problem has been that I feel like I should have something great to say. I mean, 365 days have come and gone, shouldn’t I have something profound to say about it? I’ve come to hate my birthday for the most part because it seems to never be very important to anyone besides me. It’s the end of summer and it kinda gets swallowed up by labor day weekend. Every year, I get excited and then sad and then pissed off about my birthday. Maybe I’ll learn to just ignore it all together at some point.

I will say this about getting a year older, I definitely feel older now than I did on September 1st (my last day of being 26). That has more to do with my child taking years off my life with her first broken bone and subsequent body cast. She fell chasing a kitten at the babysitters and caused a spiral break in her left femur. It was the worst experience in my life thus far. You don’t know what pain is until you have to sit and listen to your child scream in agony as they unnecessarily twist her broken leg so they can take xrays of the rest of her body because they figured we had purposely hurt her. I literally broke down and cried in the corner of the xray room. And, as expected, she had not a single mark on her body except for that one broken bone.

Let me just break it down for you:

11:30am – get call from babysitters that EB fell and won’t get up and cries when you touch her leg.

12:00pm – Pick up baby. She screams and cries the whole way to hospital because of her carseat and the fact that we didn’t know she had a broken leg.

12:30-3:00pm – We sit and wait. Occasionally, we have guests. We are grilled by the doctor, the nurses, and a social worker. Some other nurses heard the story of how she broke her leg and somehow got that she fell off the changing table and broke it. (BTW our babysitter doesn’t even have a changing for that very reason). Social work grills us and then goes to talk to the doctor. She comes back and asks about where we work. When she finds out I work for the Family and Adult unit of Job and Family Services alongside the Children Services department and that Josh works for the Police Department, she laughed. Literally, chuckled. Finally, she tells us the doctor says these things can happen and she clears us. She tells us that we won’t have to deal with social services at the downtown hospital. 10696371_10100676668752700_7702550190766671266_n

3:30pm – We are transported to the ambulance to move EB to the downtown hospital. They made me watch Dora the Explorer the whole way even though EB was asleep. It was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae from hell.

4:30pm – We arrive. We check in and around 5pm we are moved to the room she’ll be having her cast put on in.

5:00-8:30pm – What’s about to happen to EB is explained to us. They use a splint and special cast to hold her leg til it heals instead of inserting a metal rod into her leg. They explain the drugs they are going to use on her and let us pick out a color for her cast. I ask her if she wants pink or purple and she tells me she wants pink. Again, we are grilled about our story. The nurses seem sympathetic. The doctors seem skeptical. A very rude doctor from the ER comes in and tells us that social services is going to come talk to us. I told him we were cleared in Liberty and she was going to send notice down to the social worker. He rudely tells me that it doesn’t matter. This is just how things are done. Luckily, he’s wrong and we don’t see him or social worker again.

Somewhere around 8pm they take her to have full body xrays. They decided to do it without putting her cast on first (which they usual do to avoid causing pain to the child, and, yes, they actually told us this) and twist her poor little broken leg all around to get shots. They do this to make sure there’s no other breaks or signs of abuse. They made it very clear they didn’t believe our story. She came back 100% clear except for her one broken bone. I was tired, hungry, and extremely angry at this point.

8:30pm – The nurse finally manages to get all the doctors in one place to put the cast on her. It takes a bit because they don’t usually do colored casts in the ER. The guy who put on her cast knows a guy in supplies and gets the pink sent up for her.

9:00pm – She’s out cold and covered in a pink cast. But my baby is out of pain and I can snuggle her without her screaming and swatting at me. 10653676_10100676925298580_772091766708672198_n

10:00pm – She’s taken to her room and I try to wake her up since she hasn’t eaten since breakfast. She’s not having any of it.

It was an extremely long night with her waking up at least once an hour screaming and crying .She hated the heart monitor they put on her finger and threw it across the room at one point making her machine go crazy. She ate a little bit in the morning and we watched frozen 8 times before we left the hospital the next day. 10696360_10100677025402970_389244676626885536_n

Now, it’s a matter of trying to handle her attitude about being held down and trying to keep her happy the best we can. I didn’t think it was possible to miss my destructive toddler, but I do. So very much. She’s so upset because she can’t get full skin to skin contact and no one can hold her. She’s constantly held and loved on and for now she’s got three inches of plaster between her and us. She had a week 1 check up last Thursday. She went from a 27 degree angle break on the 9/11 to 17 degree on 9/18 which is good progress. Hoping for only 4 weeks with the cast. I so hope she can go on hayrides and trick or treating without the pink monster still wrapped around her. 10412001_10100682081979550_1587062076672302892_n

EBs broken leg isn’t really justice to my 26th year either. It’s just been the consuming force in our lives as of late. My 26th year wasn’t really all that exciting. Don’t get me wrong. It was a good year to us, but there was nothing spectacular to look back on. Ok, that might not be necessarily true. I did get my big girl job in February. And I bought my first car in July. And Ellabelle finally started walking and talking this year. So, I guess there were some big things that happened. It’s hard to think back about them. My brain is in a fog and my body aches all the time right now. I feel like I’m literally pushing through from one day to the next. I will be happy when our lives go back to normal.

I’m going to just let 26 go silently into the night. I’m ready to move on and embrace 27. I’m excited because I love the number 3. I mean, technically, it’s a counting compulsion that’s part of my OCD, but, regardless, three is my number and the multiples of it. So, much to my surprise, I found out that 27 is considered a perfect square. That’s 3x3x3 or 33 to those not well versed in or perhaps repressing math like I try to do. It’s a year of three 3s. If that’s not a sign for good things to come, my OCD doesn’t know what is. I’m also even more excited for fun things up ahead for us. Like our first family vacation, just the three of us, and EB being old enough to be excited about Christmas. 27 is going to be good. I can tell.

And, now, I present, my 30 before 30 list. I started this a while ago, and I’ve already managed to cross two things off!

  1. Go berry picking
  2. Go sledding with Ellabelle
  3. Skip a rock (2 hops)
  4. Fly a kite on the beach
  5. Put my toes in the Pacific
  6. Have another baby
  7. Move
  8. Buy a new car
  9. Visit the GWTW museum in GA
  10. Sit front row for a show
  11. Pet a penguin
  12. Be a size 8
  13. Go on a cruise
  14. See the Declaration of Independence
  15. Take Ellabelle fishing with my dad
  16. Shoot a gun
  17. get another tattoo
  18. Buy a house
  19. Pay off a bill
  20. Become a soccer mom
  21. Finish a scrapbook
  22. Finish EBs baby quilt
  23. Visit three new states
  24. Be vegetarian for a whole week
  25. Finish my story
  26. Take a camping trip
  27. Ride an elephant
  28. Knitting and donate 50 scarves to the homeless
  29. Play in the rain
  30. Swim with dolphins

Three years from 30. I haven’t decided if I’m afraid of 30 yet or not. I think I’m just going to focus on my perfect square for now.

Let me be the kind of person my kid thinks I am

A lot has changed since I’ve become a mom. Besides the obvious, that is. I’m an introvert who’s always suffered from shyness on top of the serious lack of self esteem. I opened up a bit in high school and then a little bit more in college, and I thought I had reached my true potential, as close as I was ever going to feel to being an extrovert. Then I had a kid, and I bloomed. The term “late bloomer” springs to mind, but I’m not exactly sure if what happened to me really fits the definition, but whatevs.543906_10100175016807220_683843313_n

See, having a baby changed everything about me – the way I look at the world, the way I look at myself, that way I look, the way I feel, the way I act. Everything about who I am changed. I tried to explain it to Josh because he totally doesn’t get it, but it’s true. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago. 10373989_10100567789547500_6412338567206929721_n

I don’t worry about what others think. I used to be so concerned, even if I played it off, but not now. The neighbors are sitting on the porch? Oh well, we’re gonna play in the driveway and blow bubbles and lay on out bellies and color with chalk. Greasy hair and mismatched clothes be damned. See someone I know at the grocery? Yep, I’m in yoga pants and tshirt and, yes, that is crusty yogurt on my shirt. My kid wanted to give me a hug while she ate lunch. My kids singing at the top of her lungs in the middle of Walmart? Guess what? Payback for all those annoying kids I had to listen to before I had my own. At least, mine’s confined to a cart and not running around like a total monster. 1505322_10100537782247370_2524185201423930971_n

I rarely feel beautiful. It’s a whole internal thing that isn’t even worth going into, but still it’s a daily struggle not to feel like I’m the biggest slob on the planet. But put that baby on my hip and I feel gorgeous. She’s my favorite accessory. She makes me feel comfortable and relaxed because I’ve got my little buddy with me. It’s almost as if having her with me just brings out this inner confidence I didn’t even know I had. I am mommy, hear me roar, or something. It could also be that she’s so outgoing and beautiful and everyone’s attention is immediately turned to her. This keeps people from pay attention to me and that’s all I ever want any ways. As pathetic as it is, I can hide my own insecurities behind my beautiful baby. Let her shine. Let her be loved. To love her is to love a part of me anyway. Still, there is nothing more beautiful than being a mom. 1078564_10100324672491030_1854246357_o

With her, I get to dress up and be silly without feeling like everyone’s judging me. I get to wear princess crowns and play in leaves and it’s not weird because I have a kid and that makes it total normal.

picture taken by Ellabelle
picture taken by Ellabelle

I wear a swimsuit without a second thought because she wants to go swimming. Do I feel self conscious? Hell yeah. Does it change that fact that my kid loves the water and wants to play in it? Hell no. Stretch marks and gut be damned. My kid wants to play, and that’s what we’re going to do. Plus, Miss Flat Abs, come talk to me after you’ve carried a watermelon inside your body for 9 months. We’ll see who’s got judgey eyes then. 1377573_10100373166463720_280199270_n

Being a mom has made me brave. I would never have jumped through a sprinkle before her. I would never have fed a llama before her. Now, I do. I have to be brave so she learns to be brave. Granted, I’m not running into burning buildings or dodging bullets, but being outgoing, to me, is being brave. Facing new things and taking on new challenges makes someone brave. She makes me be brave. 10620570_10100647929321750_8534121516845489860_n

She’s been able to bring a type of peace to my life. She’s the calm in a storm. My emotions are similar to hers, to a toddlers. I feel things very deeply. Anger, compassion, happiness, love – they all run deep. I react in the same way. So when I’m dealing with things, it’s hard to stop me. I’m a hurricane that just needs to run it’s course and run myself out. But, Ellabelle has this effect on me. She can stop everything in it’s tracks and bring me back down to normal. I don’t remember much at all that happened to me October 2012. Josh tells me that when I was feeling the most scared and the most confused, I’d hold her because she was the only thing that would calm me down, that would make me feel better. She’s been able to do something no one else has ever been able to do – she makes me listen, even if it’s just my heart whispering to me what it thinks she needs from me. She keeps me grounded and keeps me sane. She has made me more willing to compromise and let go of my pride. She has made me a better version of myself. 1474597_10100432361241910_747108290_n

Most importantly, she has opened my eyes to what’s really important. Someone was really rude to me at work that day? It’s over. Move on. There’s some sort of ridiculous family drama? It doesn’t matter. Arguing politics? Who cares. People wanting to push their religion? Not worth my time to even worry about. I can’t change people, and being a mom has made me realize that none of that stuff is really that important. I am able to just let most things roll of my shoulders. I can’t let silly things get me frustrated and upset when there’s a good chance that A) Ellabelle is going to notice my bad mood and its going cause her to be in a bad mood or B) Ellabelle’s going to be particularly ornery and that’s only going to enhance my bad mood. Regardless, with a toddler in the house, a living tornado of emotional outbursts, I have to work extra hard to keep my own emotions properly in check. Petty, stupid things just aren’t worth it. 12824_10100123659238200_1844291659_n

I’m living life one moment at a time, one step at a time. I’ve come realize that’s all I can do. I know I’ve heard it, but until something happens to you to make you wake up and realize it, you really can’t wrap your mind around it. I feel like in a way I’ve died. That old me is gone. I have been to the very end of everything, I have felt around on the floor of rock bottom and I’m still here. EB was my life preserve, something to hold onto in the dark. She was the sliver of hope from a lighthouse off in the distance. She saved me in every way imaginable when she made me a mom and she’s a continual reminder of what there is to look forward to. I read the news and see war and destruction and the very worst of humankind and I look at her and know she will be one of those gentle voices in the world spreading love and hope for a better tomorrow. Or at least I’m going to do everything I can to teach her to be that way. 10296167_10100585032582320_4742093574192984985_o

She has changed me and made me better. I’ve learned more from her and about myself in two years of being a mom than I ever did in 17 years of school. Everything Ellabelle does is genuine. Everything she does is the nth degree. There’s no holding back for fear of what others might say or think. She lives life on the very edge of her emotions – when she’s mad, she screams. When she’s happy, she sings. When she’s sad, she cries. There’s no huddling on the middle ground. It’s all or nothing, baby. I’m trying to be more and more like her, more genuine, every day.  10309070_10100559876051210_2043528754616114021_n

I can feel the change in me, even if others can’t see it. I’ve been changed for good. I’ve been changed for the better. Until you’re a mom, you can’t understand. And once you’re a mom, you can’t ever go back. Ellabelle thinks I’m brave. She thinks I’m funny and smart. She thinks I’m beautiful and adventurous. She thinks I’m loving and kind. I want to be everything she thinks I am. 10269289_10100562049730140_7013496600348624827_o

Yo! Ellabelle’s two!

I went back and forth on if a 2nd birthday party was necessary for Ellabelle. I kept being told that the 2nd birthday isn’t important enough for a whole party. I agreed for a moment and decided to do something special with just the three of us. After looking into ideas, I realized what I wanted to do (stay at one of those indoor waterpark resorts) was going to cost as much as a party would. And then I asked myself, “Do I think two is important enough for a party?” The answer in my head was a resounding “Yes!” She’s still an only child so we have the time, energy, and money to do another birthday party. And when I look back on her birthday and reminisce about my tiny baby and how far we come, I have to just be thankful we are both here to celebrate a 2nd birthday. Plus, she’s my baby so if I want to through her a second then I’m gonna do it. Like Josh will tell you, I do what I want.

So once I had made up my mind to do a birthday party, I knew immediately what the theme was going to be: Yo Gabba Gabba. 10463745_10100629062895220_8096906739365271840_o

There really wasn’t any other option. Up until Mother’s Days (which is when I got Frozen on blu-ray), it was the only thing she’d watch. Now, it’s Gabba and Frozen. So, I started planning. I love planning things. It means I get to craft. And craft I did. I’ve seen every Gabba episode as many times as she has so I knew every little detail that had to be made to be included in her big Gabbabration! 10572263_10100629060390240_9089317800456349_o

The tiny yucky germs and Super Soapy Pal in the bathroom reminding people to wash their hands (because that’s what Super Soapy Pal does!) 10514439_10100629062491030_2230568345789437036_o

The flying toast (Josh’s personal favorite. He even requested to have him after the party to put on his locker at work). 10553849_10100629060385250_3618171323616034556_o

The whole Gabba gang in banner form 10443225_10100629060395230_4874973589414458502_o

She was obsessed with the banner and kept trying the steal it for the two months it sat at our house before the party.

And of course, mommy and daddy had to get in the Gabba spirit! 10245551_10100629077166620_3678528003833062292_n(1)

For her invitations, I knew I was going to make DJ Lance’s boombox. I looked everywhere for gray card stock that was big enough to be folded and couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I had to get super crafty. Enter $1 gray spray paint from Walmart. I got 12×12 white card stock and spray painted both sides of it to make it boombox gray. 3 cans of spray paint and one gray foot later, they looked pretty darn good.

I then had to measure and cut the 12×12 sheets into 3 4×12 strips. After those were all done I traced and cut out red circles for the speakers and little tiny colored rectangles to make the buttons. I then hot glues all four colors together and then put them all on the cardstock. It was quite a process, but I was really happy with how they turned out. I had to keep them hidden because every time EB would see one she’d scream and steal it. 10309209_10100572613610040_5113658188167127734_n

We had her two year pictures taken at Cox Arboritum in Miamisburg, OH at the end of May. I always do them early so I can have the picture for her invitations and party. She had an adorable outfit to wear for the family pictures we wanted, and, of course, she wasn’t having anything to do with the pictures. So, I finally gave up and changed her into her Yo Gabba Gabba outfit and pulled out the Gabba items I had brought. She lost her mind and was suddenly much more corporative with us.

I took the banner and found the perfect place to hang it.

After a little mommy magic, here’s what the inside of the invite ended up looking like. imgsvr.ashx2

Not to toot my own horn (ok maybe a little tooting cause, hey, I worked hard on them), but I’m very proud of them.

I also made signs shaped like the Gabba logo and hung them up all over the place. 10465262_10100629061852310_1750587686032609934_o
As well as labeled the food. 10470883_10100629061847320_5766308935165548744_o 10480982_10100629074921120_6880038183140474031_n

And I made Muno pretzels because he’s her fravorite. 10557284_10100627677361840_1433868899449810643_n

And what’s a Gabba party without some Dazzleberry Lemonade? 10519692_10100629061832350_6833512264533987340_o

I got the cupcakes from Kroger and made the stand myself. When I was showing Josh the boxes I was going to use to make the cupcake stand he kinda made a weird face at me. I asked him what was wrong and his response? “You do too much.” Like that’s a bad thing! I wish he’d embrace my need to go overboard instead of trying to fight it. And you know what, I’m really glad I put in the effort cause I think it looked amazing. 10295423_10100629060779460_1579643056708230498_o

I got regular decorations at Party City and made sure every inch of Oma and Opa’s house had been Gabbafied. A girl only turns 2 once. 1965477_10100629061837340_2532077465061462764_o 10494921_10100629060774470_2494508798152817354_o

The party went well. I made way too much food, but you can never really anticipate how many people are going to actually show up. And, EB had fun, and that’s all that really mattered. She was very happy and loved the attention. 10568857_10100629075589780_4854521169466762115_n

Olaf selfie!
Olaf selfie!

10570333_10100629076463030_1713546980200418964_n 10382178_10100629076487980_5270230491848570329_n 15633_10100629075879200_6525650623915764968_n10501821_10100629076597760_8126685808712528805_n

She’s very blessed to have so many people who love her. I know she had a great time and I’m glad I decided to go ahead and do it. Years from now, when I look back, I’ll remember how happy it made her to be surrounded by so much Gabba and so many people who laughed all her goofiness.10406807_10100629076707540_7583352158532180786_n 10487426_10100629076917120_7037311751274202740_n

And needless to say, she partied hard and passed out harder.10371682_10100629077001950_4517260868599519595_n

Happy Birthday (again) to my wonderful Baby Bee! We love you and think you’re AWESOME! imgsvr.ashx

Treading Water

I remember when I was younger we took swim lessons in the morning at my daycamp. It was always freezing because the sun wasn’t up yet and the water always felt so cold. We all still loved it though. Any reason to be in the pool. Once we were older, we were allowed to jump off the diving boards in the deep end, but first we had to pass a swim test. So, for 5 minutes, we had to tread water in the 12 ft deep water. It was hard to say the least. That’s a lot of exertion for a little 10 year old body. In the beginning, you would use all four of your limbs to hold yourself really high up out of the water. You’d kick your feet and flap your arms back and forth under the water. Then, you’d start to get tired, and you’d sink more and more into the water until only your face was sticking out for air. You’d get so tired that you’d have to start switching between your two set of limbs. You’d keep kicking your leg, and, when they got tired, you’d switch over to using just your arms for a few seconds before switching back. It was absolutely exhausting. Finally, you reached a point where you didn’t know if you could keep going any longer, and your lungs felt like we were going to explode, and the lifeguard calls time and you can stop. You passed. You survived. You get to jump off the high dive. You’ve proven yourself.

And that’s my life still. Treading water. Constantly treading water. It’s figurative water, of course. It’s bills and work and cooking dinner and changing diapers and finding time and money. It’s all those grown up things they warn you about as a kid, but you don’t listen to. It’s the deep end. They just throw you into it after college and just expect you to know how to swim. And maybe you can swim in the world, but most of us can’t. So we tread. It’s the only way to survive.

Josh and I are both working at real jobs for the first time since we moved in together. It’s put us in a completely different tax bracket. No more 1040-EZ for us. Yet, we are still living paycheck to paycheck and we still scrounge around to find money for food and gas each week. We scourer around the house weekly looking for something , anything, we can put on Craigslist so we can buy diapers. We are treading as fast as we can, and it feels like it’s never going to be able to stop. My student loans just came up and it feel likes 1000lbs weights have been attached to our ankles on top of everything else. I don’t know how we can keep afloat, but we just keep treading.

Motherhood is a constant battle as well. It’s uncharted waters for me. I have to learn to hold my temper which is hard when the tiny human I’m dealing with has a temper that matches. She’s started fighting us on everything. Bedtime is hell some nights. We’re hardly ever home. She gets 2 hours at home before its bath and bedtime. She’s a grump in the morning because she likes to sleep and can’t. She’s a grump at night because she likes being home and playing with her own toys and being with her animals and she doesn’t get to do it enough. She’s hard headed and plain mean sometimes. Couple that with the stress of money and it makes treading harder. With her though, I get little moments of relief. She insists on sitting next to me on the couch and she lays her little head on my shoulder and talks to me or sings me a song and the water doesn’t seem to be pulling down so hard. It’s a revitalizing breathe of much needed fresh air. It makes it worth it to keep kicking my tired legs.

Life is just a constant battle of staying afloat. My house is a mess. The inside and the outside. But what am I suppose to do if my kid wants to play with me after dinner? Say, “No, mommy needs to clean instead.” No way, jose. I’d rather have a dirty house. The dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, the animals, the toys that are everywhere, it’s all too much sometimes too. It’s life though. And life sucks sometimes. Josh and I have plans. They are had to be put on the backburner. We are just kicking and flapping and panting and praying for someone to call time. It feels like we’re always waiting for someone to call time. It’ll come. I hope so anyways.

Just keep swimming.