Monster Birthday

So, I failed. I work really hard, like super hard, to make sure that the Mattie never feels like she’s missing out on anything just because she’s the second child. I also work, like at a job, that consumes a lot of my daily time, and I do all the mom stuff that has to be done as well. And things fall through the cracks. It sucks, and I hate it, but it’s just a fact. I fall really far behind on my posts here, but I wanted to make sure that Mattie got her 1st birthday post because Ellabelle got one. Well, I wrote one. I patted myself on the back because I found the time and I got it done. Yah! And then I never got around to posting it. Boo. So, I failed. But here it is a week later because it’s better late than never.

May 19, 2016

A year ago, I was scared. Actually, I was terrified. I was terrified of what May 19 was going to bring to our lives. I was terrified of how our family was going to be altered, how Ellabelle’s world was about to be changed. I was terrified I wouldn’t love her the same or be able to share my love. I was terrified of surgery and needles and that somehow I would end up reliving July 22. I was terrified that something would be wrong or a body part might not be the right place. I was terrified of the bright lights and cold table and the smell of burning flesh. I was terrified because they said there was an irregular heartbeat, and I had to lay here, looking anywhere but at the light overhead reflecting what the doctors were doing.

And then, I saw you. One of the nurses placed you in your daddy’s arms, and I saw your sweet little face, your “perfect round head” (according to the doctor), and your pink warm skin. And none of it mattered. None of the worries. All that mattered was that our lives had been empty and missing a vital piece that only Matilda Gayle could fill.

Since the day you got here, you have made our lives so much better, so much more joyful. You’ve always been so laid back, so happy. You warm the room with your smile and infectious personality. I loved your little bald head with your angel kiss on the back, and now I love your soft whispy baby hair. I’m still not sure what color it’s going to end up being. Some days it looks blonde. Some days brown. Some days red. You weren’t as good of a sleeper as your big sister so we took more adjusting to your schedule, but you finally got it down.

I’ve kept track of things throughout this first year that I never want to forget. That’s how it is. You do something so often that it’s just part of who you are, and the one day we realize it’s gone. You’ve already changed so much in just 12 months.

Things I already miss but never want to forget:

The way your voice used to get real low and soft when you were fighting sleep but were almost there.

The difference between your “feed me” cry and your “I want attention” cry

The way you used to stick out that little pouty lip of yours when anyone would accidentally bump you in your chair (usually by big sister’s doing) or when you were startled or when you were really, really hungry

The way you used to attack Ellabelle’s singing turtle as soon as we put you down on the changing table

The way you lifted your swaddled feet up in the air and slammed them down on the play n pack making a huge clang every night and then in the morning. We called them your fish flops.

The way you used to pull yourself up on your knees like you were gonna crawl and then plop down your belly to move forward.

And now, there are things I love that I know that in maybe a months time could be gone:

The way you sleep in a “heap” (as daddy calls it) with your butt in the air.

The way you suck on her upper lip (your old man face) or stick out your tongue for no reason.

The way you throw your head back and forth when you’re fighting sleep.

The way you scream when you see a bottle even if you’ve already been fed.

The way you wave whenever anyone around you says “Hi”.

The way you twist and flip your wrist whenever we sing “All the single babies”.

The way you makes the sweetest sound when you makes big yawns.

The way you refuses to let us put a pacifier in your mouth, but take it and do it yourself instead.

The way you crawl around your crib frantically when we put you in it at night.

The way you shake your head “No” if we do it to you first.

The little way you dance by holding your arms to your side and swing back and forth.

The way you insist on being fed anytime anyone else eating around.

Lately, you’ve earned the nickname Mischievous Mattie and you defend that title daily. You have this little grin you do when you get caught doing something you aren’t suppose to. You know you’re cute, and you use that to you advantage.

You adore your sister. She’s always loved you, but now that you’re on the move, she’s not a huge fan. I have a feeling she’ll move past this stage cause she is still so sweet to you. You follow her around the living room, watch her when she talks, and laugh big belly laughs at her silly antics. I look forward to watching your bond grow and strengthen as you both grow up.

There are so many little things I could sit and document and preserve forever, but what’s important is that you are you, and you make my heart so full and my life so wonderful just by being here. Simply looking at you sitting on the floor wearing just a diaper with your little pudgy Buddha belly hanging out makes me so indescribably happy. You were meant to be in our lives. You are a ray of sunshine.

Babies change so much in their first year, and here we are about to start year 2 with you. You’re crawling, standing with both hands on the floor, you babble like crazy, you love to eat, and you have two little teeth. You use a sippy cup at dinner, but refuse to take your morning milk from anything other than a bottle. You love Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse, mum mums, and stealing mommy’s shoes.

I want to thank you for picking me to be your mommy. Your sister may have made me a mom, but you’ve helped make me a better one. I have learned more about appreciating time because it doesn’t slow down. You’ve made my life better, and I plan on doing everything in my power to return the favor. I love you, Mattie GG. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, my little monster. 

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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

Spring is finally here!

Spring is my favorite season.

Sweet smelling flowers IMG_2084_2

gentle breezes IMG_1581_2

warm sunshine IMG_1637 

bare toddler feet IMG_2072_2

sidewalk chalk and bubbles IMG_1390_2

and Easter dresses IMG_1925_2

Oh easter dresses. We realized that Auntie Ang’s fancy dress from way back in the day would fit my little demon and, so, of course, we had to put her in it. And she was beyond adorable (IMO). IMG_1932

We had our usual two easters. The week before Easter we had Fake Easter with my mom’s family. Ellabelle hunted eggs and stole peeps when she thought mom and dad weren’t paying attention. IMG_1551 IMG_1552 IMG_1553

Then on actual easter, of course the Easter bunny brought her eggs. She’s still a little confused on who the Easter bunny is. She kept saying Santa was going to bring her eggs. She sorta got it by the time Easter actually arrived. IMG_1818 IMG_1829

We bought her this ridiculous duck last year after Easter on clearance. I forgot just how big this thing is! It’s ridiculous, and I don’t know what I was thinking. He’s camping out on the end of her bed now. IMG_1847_2

And the night before we planted magic jelly beans again. IMG_1726 IMG_1738 IMG_1740_2

She thinks all jelly beans are called “magic beans” now. They grew overnight into lollipops, of course. IMG_1843_2 IMG_1844

She did so much better at hunting eggs this year. She had a blast and we managed to keep her from opening them as she found them unlike last year. IMG_1838 IMG_1879 IMG_1840

We also went to brunch with Oma, Opa, and Auntie Ang. IMG_1974 IMG_1945 IMG_1961_2

And hunted eggs the Easter bunny left at Oma and Opa’s IMG_1979_2 IMG_1981

and colored eggs as well. She only broke two of them this year. IMG_1986 IMG_1988 IMG_1992

***

Spring also means the start of the rollerderby season. We’ve been to family day and the first two games of the season. Ellabelle loves watching derby as much as we do it seems. Or maybe it’s just all the junk food she gets to eat while she’s there. But she’s started telling us she “play girls” as in playing for the rollergirls. And I’m a-ok with that. Hopefully, she’ll be cleared to ride a bike and rollerskate and go on playgrounds next week when she has her checkup for her leg. IMG_1751 IMG_1805_2 IMG_1747

***

And now, a Baby M update:

How far along? 33 weeks and 4 days

Total weight gain/lost: not sure – I’ve gained 2lbs since my last appointment which is good (about a pound a week). I checked my scale to see what I weighed the last time I weighed myself on it and I’m still 5lbs under the heaviest I was not pregnant.

Maternity clothes? I love my few pieces and wish I had embraced them last time around too!

Stretch marks? Not any new ones

Best moment of the week: I’m just taking it day by day because how I feel varies from moment to moment

Missing anything? Meat. Sometimes I can sneak a few pieces in, but she realizes what it is and freaks out.

Movement? Yep

Cravings: fruit, smoothies, and sweets

Anything making you queasy or sick? meat

Have you started to show? definitely look pregnant at this point

Labor signs? Braxton hicks 😦

Belly button in or out? in

Wedding ring on or off? off – my hands and feet swell daily

Mood: varies from moment to moment – so don’t mess with me 😉 

***

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter! Hopefully, these April showers will get over with and we can move onto the May flowers…and a new baby! IMG_1828

New Patterns

We’ve been slowly sliding into our new pattern of life. Poor Miss EB had a hard time adjusting to less sleep and long days away from us. She was crying when daddy dropped her off in the morning and won’t let me out of her sight when I come pick her up. She even runs to the door as soon as I get there cause girl is ready to go. She has, lucky, gotten better about the mornings. As long as we supply some sort of food distraction (be it goldfish or milk), she happily waves bye-bye to mommy and daddy takes her in, tear free.

Our days are as follows:
5:30: up and at em for daddy and mommy
6:00: Mommy gets Bee up and daddy makes coffee, starts the car, and takes out the dog
6:30(at the latest): out the door
7:00: drop baby off, fingers crossed for no tears
7:30: drop momma off, wolf whistle from the weird guy in the alley (aka my husband)
8-4:45: work and all that necessary stuff
5:20: pick up Bee, get smiles and blow that popsicle stand
6:00-8:30: dinner, bath, whatever housework we feel up to doing, and playtime with the manimals til bed
8:30: bedtime for the baby and last minute stuff for the next day
9:30: beddybye for momma and daddy.

Now repeat as necessary (or required anyways.)

So, yeah, poor Ellabelle isn’t liking this whole being home for only 2 hours to play with HER toys. I think she misses them too.

The real sad sap is Maisy. She’s so pathetic every morning. In the beginning, she would sit on the couch like, “Are we going somewhere?! You have pants on! We must be going somewhere!” And now she mopes, “Oh it’s that time of the day when you leave me again. Are you sure you have to go?” Insert big sad puppy dog eyes here. Like I said, she’s pathetic. But without fail, 6pm when we roll through the door, she’s there, still on the couch, wigglebutt agoing in excitement. And all is forgiven.

I’m so glad I have my job and the piece of sanity it grants me, but that little feeling of guilt is hard to shake when I look at Ellabelle. I don’t want her to feel like she’s neglected which she isn’t in anyway. It’s gotten easier as the weeks have moved on. I’m hitting my 1 month mark here this week. I feel like we’re finally on the path to where we want to be. I’m so looking forward to catching up on bills so we have some extra money to start saving for bigger and better things. Just like last year, march is so full of exciting new things and lots of busy busy weekends. More to come on that…

New Years Letter to Bee

I’m sorely lacking on posts. I’m not exactly sure how I fell behind. I was working so diligently to write every week, but once September hit life took over and so did the rush of the holidays and here we sit with a half written post meant for January 1st. As it is, here’s my new years letter to EB.

Dearest Ellabelle, 

We’ve somehow stumbled upon the end of 2013 – your first full year here. For 365 days, you have lived, breathed, and destroyed everything you could possibly get your hands on. I have watched in wonder this year as you have grown from a tiny roly poly baby into a fascinating, opinionated toddler. 

This year has been such an emotional roller coaster, but it a very different way than 2012. 2012 was full of dark emotions that fill our lives when we least expect it. The ever lingering pain of pregnancy and our possible death followed dealing with mommy’s postpartum problems left a dark spot on the year. But 2013 was full of so many good emotions. 

My little baby, so sweet and quiet, she turned into a toddler. With your first birthday came tears of joy and tears of sorrow as your infancy was over. Again, these were good emotions. I am so blessed to be here to get to see you become a little person, and so blessed for you to be here to reach this first of many more birthdays to come. Still, I grieved for the fact that my little baby no longer existed. Every day a little part of me is saddened as you learn and discover so many new things because these little discoveries and new steps will ultimately take you away from me. It is a brief and fleeting feeling, but it is still there. It’s part of being a mom. The joy of getting to witness you grow greatly out weighs the sorrow though. 

I have felt my heart swell so hugely this past year. Just when I think it’s hit capacity, you go and make it swell again. Your face and your little smile, they mean everything. Motherhood is hard, harder than anyone can explain to you, but it so worth it. Watching you play and learn and discover how things work makes me play and learn and rediscover so many things. You have opened my eyes to the wonder of the world. You have also opened them to the so many terrors. That’s just how it is though. You have to take the good with the bad. Life doesn’t play favorites (even if it may feel like it does sometimes) and you have to look for the positive in everything. I’ve never been really good at that myself, but I hope to be able to teach you to do that. Never let the bad outweigh the good and never forget to keep your chin up. 

There were so many more firsts this year – starting with your first New Years. We spent your first Valentine’s Day at White Castles (don’t worry, I didn’t let you eat anything). For your first St. Patrick’s Day we went on a barhop, but you only made it two bars before you were ready for a nap (you’re still a lightweight. It’s ok – you’ll get there.) It snowed on your first Easter, but you loved it. Daddy took you outside to see it. The easter bunny brought you lots of goodies, and you had your first piece of candy! 

Summer came and we got to introduce our little waterbaby to the pool and the water playground. You loved every visit to Parky’s Ark even it all you could do was sit in the water. Your first 4th of July was wet and soggy and you got your diapered changed on bar stools (Gold star in parenting for us on that one). Then, the end of July brought a very special day for all of us – your birthday and mommy’s birth day. We celebrated the day you made your arrival, the day I became a mom, and gave thanks for both us being around to celebrate one year. 

You learned to roll over, army crawl, crawl, and, finally, in November, at 16 months, you learned to walk. You babble like a maniac and talk up a storm when you’re on “your phone” which happens to be anything you can hold up to your ear. 2014 is going to bring so many new things as well. I guess that’s just what happens when a baby arrives – every year brings new, wonderful, magical things. We’ll get to hear you talk real words and maybe you’ll learn how to ride a tricycle. Who knows. 

Sharing as much of the world with you as possible is not only something I want to do, but it’s something I feel like in suppose to do. We did that a little this year. You’ve been to Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. That’s almost as many states as your daddy’s been to! You’ve also seen the ocean. Sharing that with you was so important and so special for me (even if you hated the sand and the water).

This year is bound to bring new changes to our lives, and I know that it may be scary and confusing for you, but we’ll get used to new routines and new hours. Just know, that even if I have to be away from you (like at work) that I’m never far and you’re never alone. I will be there if you really need me. I do everything for you and, if it means being away from you for 10 hours a day, I will do it. I want only the best for you. 

I am thankful for every day I get to spend with you. I soak in as much of your sweet personality as possible. I cherish every big, open mouthed kiss and pat you give me when I pick you up. I still love watching you toddle out into the living room every morning. And, every night, when I check on you before I go to sleep, I hold your little baby hand, just for a moment, to feel connected to you. I say it often, and that’s because I mean it, thank you for picking me to be your mommy. I’m so looking forward to fun adventures with you this year. I just know 2014 is going to be our year. 

All my love,
Mommy

Happy (20 days late) New Year, everyone! Photo on 12-31-13 at 8.01 PM

Love/Hate with Fall

I really dislike fall. I hate that the warm breezes of late summer switch over to cold winds. I hate that I have to start wearing shoe instead of the flip flops I lived in all summer. I hate that the heat has to be turned on. I hate that I freeze on my hands and feet and sweat every where else. I hate that there are leaves all over my yard and that I have to listen to my husband complain about the no leaves in the yard rule where we live. And, most of all, I hate pumpkin. I hate the smell and the taste and what seems to be everyones love affair with it.

But I don’t hate fall. Like I said, I just really dislike it.

And why just the dislike when there’s so much to hate?

This is why: IMG_3113

Oh, and colorful leaves on trees IMG_2520

And leaves in piles to play inIMG_3226

The breast cancer walk and the boobie hat’s one time a year appearanceIMG_0894

Pumpkin patches complete with corn mazes and hay rides. It was freezing this year, but she loved it. IMG_2440 IMG_2450 IMG_2465

Pumpkins because, even though I hate the taste and smell, I still love picking one out and carving them…IMG_2266 even if someone else doesn’t. IMG_2272

Halloween IMG_2754 IMG_2695

x3 this year. We went to her babysitters halloween party, Ikea trick or treating, and regular trick or treating. It rained bad this year so we got to go to two houses before she was wet. Fotor1202101531So she spent Halloween in the warm house clad in a diaper watching The Lorax and drinking a sippy. She was much happier that way. IMG_2733Oh, and she’s in love with lollipops

IMG_2753

Ugg boots IMG_3328

Bengals football (some of us just aren’t into the games) IMG_3643

ThanksgivingIMG_4160My little turkey was precious in her outfit I made her.

Scotlynn and Ellabelle - 2nd cousins about 6 weeks apart
Scotlynn and Ellabelle – 2nd cousins about 6 weeks apart

She loved crawling around and exploring and actually interacted with some of the other kids a little bit.

And the best part of fall? It becomes winter (another love hate relationship there) which leads to Christmas. 

IMG_4326

Happy beginning of December, everyone!