It’s summer! ☀️

Yesterday was the official start to summer even though it’s been incredible hot already. I don’t like summer because it’s usually unbearably hot, and we’re living without air conditioning this year. So it’s not been welcomed. 

However – warm weather does mean lots of this happening:

We haven’t taken them to the water playground yet, and I’m not sure how Mattie’s gonna like it because she’s terrified of the shower. So we’ll see how that goes when it happens. 

I may not be a fan of the summer heat, but I do love the exciting things that happen in the summer. We have a ton of birthdays in July (including a big 5th birthday 😱), the 4th, summer ballet classes, and, this year, lots of school prep. I have a feeling it’s going to fly by. 

The last two weekends of spring have been quite busy. Our weeks always slow down because, well, there’s only so much you can do it in the 2 hours we get at home before bedtime for the girls. But weekends are jam-packed. 

We had the Biggs-Rolfes Family reunion on 6/11. It was the 60th annual and also the last. It’s been a summer staple growing up and we’ve continued to go almost every year since I moved out. I like going and seeing all my mom’s cousins and my grandma’s siblings all coming together. I never remember who any of them are (there’s 9 kids in my grandmas generation and the number grows like crazy from there the further down you go). So my mom tries to point out all of them. The girls played with water with Opa and we took them to the playground briefly. 


Unfortunately, Miss Matilda had a full on meltdown in the middle of everything which continued for 15 mins in the car once we scooped her up and bolted out of there which only ended when she finally passed out. Kids, man. They are a piece of work. 

We also had this happen. 😭


My baby is growing up! She loves her big girl bed though. She loves to just go in her room and sit in it. 

On the 13th, Ellabelle had her kindergarten assessment for school. They just talked to her to figure out where to place her knowledgewise in class. Oma took her and then stole her away to go to “the woods” with her and Opa. She’s been talking about going back to the woods since they took her last year. She was so excited once she figured out where they were. Opa told her they were going to the mall. She’s still mad he tricked her 😂


For us, it was a nice break from having two kids especially when the little one does exactly what the big one does. It was an extremely easy and quiet evening. Oh and getting just one kid ready to go in the morning is cake compared to two. Mattie missed her sister though. When she got up that morning, she pointed at Ellabelle’s bed and kept asking “Where Ellabelle?!” 

So, we got Ellabelle back on Thursday after work and the next night we dropped the girls off so they could both go spend the night at their cousin Alex’s house. They both adore Alex so they were so excited. We were excited for another free night with NO KIDS! 

We took the opportunity to go see Wonder Woman. It was amazing. I loved every bit of it. I’m totally a Wonder Woman fangirl now. 

Saturday, we got up and did some deep house cleaning that we aren’t able to do with the girls home – like steam vacing their bedroom. We also napped which was glorious. While we were in our way to pick up the girls, I got a call from Alex saying Ellabelle threw up all over herself in the car. Of course, she did. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Poor thing seems to get so carsick but only at random times. Not sure what the connection is that causes it. We got her cleaned up at the church parking lot they stopped in and, thankfully, most of it was on her and not the car.

I was glad to have my crazy girls home. As much as I enjoyed the break, I miss them like crazy when they’re gone. 

Father’s Day was this past weekend. I got up early with Matilda and made Josh biscuits and gravy for breakfast. The girls gave him his gifts to open and then we went to his dads for a late lunch. My dad had tickets to a reds game so we’re doing Father’s Day with him next weekend. So we had a pretty laid back and low key Father’s Day which is exactly what Josh prefers. “It’s just like any other day,” he always says. 


Poor Mattie was exhausted after the day though. After her nap, we couldn’t seem to get her to stay awake. 😂

For his gifts, We replaced the “you can’t scare me. I have two daughters shirt” that he dried and shrunk last year. He also got a lego mini figure shadow box. The cats and Maisy got him new cats for his cat collection. 


Maisy got him a Stimpy pop vinyl because she thinks he’s as stupid as Stimpy. Bellerz got him a vintage Cringer figure because Bellerz is his real life scaredy cat. Bean got him a Beerus lego mini-figure because Bean expects us to treat him like he’s a cat god. I think he was pleased with all of them. 

At school on Wednesday, it was Hawaiian day so I pulled out the old dance costumes and Ellabelle wore an old hula skirt. 


Mattie, never one to be left out, insisted on wearing the Belle dress. She refused to take it off at the babysitter’s and argued when it was time for bed. She’s so silly. 

So now we prepare to head into another weekend. We’re doing half days to take the girls to the West Chester touch a truck and hopefully it doesn’t rain the whole time like it’s forecasted it will. Sunday is Opa’s Father’s Day and then we start the work week up again. It’s not a superpacked weekend which I’m totally ok with. July is gonna be crazy busy so I’ll take a day or two of rest while I can. 

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 

☘️ March 🌈

3/1 It was Dr. Seuss week at school, and Wednesday was dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character. That was a no brainer for Ellabelle. She has been obsessed with a very specific Dr. Seuss based movie since before she could walk. When I asked her, she immediately requested to be the “Lor-lax.” So, I threw together a little outfit for her.


I mean, what would a Lorax be without his Truffula trees? Mattie was obsessed with all of it, and I had to keep it up out of the way off little hands the night before.

3/2 I went to the doctor for what ended up being a sinus/ear infection. I had two swollen lymph nodes behind my ear, and that really freaked me out. Thankfully, with the help of the antibiotics, I felt better fairly quickly.

3/3 The first fish fry of the year arrived with the beginning of the month. The girls were with Oma and Opa all day. The morning started with snow. We ended up passing two wrecks in the 15 minute drive to my parent’s house. The girls had a blast being spoiled all day, and, as always, the fish fry food was great.

We signed Ellabelle up for spring soccer because she’s been asking when she gets to play again since fall soccer ended. It started on the 6th, but there’s only been 1 practice so far. Mother Nature is not cooperating with us, and it’s been freezing or wet on practice nights. The only practice that happened was on a Monday at 5:15, and we couldn’t make it in time after work plus it was snowing during it. No thanks.

Now, we didn’t know soccer was cancelled on the 8th, and we were already there when we got word. Josh tried to take Ellabelle out to practice with just him because she crying in the backseat, but the fields were so swampy it just wasn’t plausible. (He’s such a good daddy. Willing to do anything to make his girl happy)


So we convinced EB that she wanted to go to Kroger instead. She’s been carrying around her Hello Kitty wallet she got for Christmas, and she kept telling me she had money to spend. I didn’t believe her, but turns out she had accumulated $5 from Opa. So we let her go buy whatever she wanted, with her own money, at Kroger. She picked popsicles. She was very excited about it until she put the dollar in the self check out machine and got coins in return. It makes me sad too when that happens! She’s still learning how money works obviously.

3/10 We went to another fish fry. A local radio station was there, and they had a giant catfish with them. Shockingly, both girls were excited about going to see him. They’re both terrified of Wooly Bully at the CRG games, and Mattie cries around the giant singing Elvis at Jungle Jims, but the giant catfish – he was cool.


In fact, Mattie kept running away from our table to go see him and wave and dance near him. He was thankfully only there an hour because I was tired of chasing Mattie around.


Lisa was there that week which means the girls got spoiled. And by spoiled, I mean, cake and cupcakes for dinner.

3/11 Angie and I have been pestering our mom to get a tattoo for a while now. It was mostly as a joke because never in a million years did I think she’d ever commit. But she did. And so we booked the appointment and off we went to Northside. We made mom go first so she couldn’t chicken out. She was a champ even though we picked the most painful place to get a tattoo. She didn’t twitch or bleed like Angie and I did.


And holy moly! I forgot how painful tattoos are! Still totally worth it though. Mom got a light and dark purple shell. Mine is pink and purple. Angie’s is white and light purple. I think the different colors ending up being perfect because even though we’re the same (family, bloodline) we each have our own unique personality, and the shells reflect that.

3/12 We went out for Josh’s birthday dinner with his mom and his sisters family (even though his birthday was in January.) Ellabelle loves spending time with her cousin, Alex, and she got to sit between Alex and her other cousin Rebeccah at dinner. Mattie loves stealing food off my plate, and she was very successful.

Afterwards, we FINALLY brought our table inside. I refinished it last year on the back porch, but it had started getting so cold that we never got it inside. Thankfully it was warm enough that Josh was able to bring it. We had to clean off the dirt it collected over the winter, but it’s in and it’s perfect. Now, we just have to keep the cats off it.

It was also daylight savings time. And that means, we were all screwed! Up that is. Our internal clocks never adjust well to the change especially the girls. They were tired and more cranky than usual. It takes almost a whole week to adjust for them.

3/14 We took an hour off work in the morning because . . . we registered EB for kindergarten 😭 Of course, I’m a freak and had the papers printed out the first day they posted them online and ended up printing out 3 different copies so I wouldn’t lose or forget it. It was quick and easy since I was super prepared. It still made me so sad. Like how did my baby get so big?! I want my little baby bee back. She’s beyond excited though. She talks about starting kindergarten all the time.

It was also Pi Day so a pie had to be made. So, with the girls help, I made peanut butter silk pie.

3/17 Our St. Patrick’s Day was low key. I had a work party and got lots of green food, and we went and had Green Ways at Skyline. Nothing to exciting. Just the way I like it.

3/18 We missed CRG, but we weren’t feeling well, but Ellabelle had a melt down because she had been promised going somewhere so we went to the Disney store instead. She loves the Disney store because it has a magic mirror that comes to life and a giant projection screen where you can pick the songs it plays. We don’t have to buy a single thing, and the girls still have a ball.

Afterwards, we stopped at party at our clubhouse for Josh’s uncle. The girls got to run around and play with their cousin Elizabeth.

Alex was there and Ellabelle got to go home with her and spend the night which she was over the moon about.

3/19 Sunday morning, Josh woke up with an awful migraine. So, Mattie and I let him sleep. We went to target and smashburger and got some quality Mommy-Materz time in.

We also went to Kroger and Horrorhound with Josh once he got up and started to feel better. Josh got some of his Zombie Tramp comics signed, and we found a pink Cthulhu for Mattie. I had searched high and low for one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg at Christmas, and never found one. Who knew all we had to do was go to a convention?

We met Josh’s sister about half way between their house and ours to get Ellabelle. She had fallen asleep in the car, but started asking when she could spend the night at Alex’s before we even moved her to our car. We grabbed dinner at BW3s, and Mattie was angry the whole time. Poor thing had missed her nap so she was just mad at the world (not that I can say I blame her). Josh had to take her outside once before we even got our food. The waitress was so nice and kept trying to help us keep her calm. A little boy brought her a ball he had won out of the crane game to make her happy. Some rude people next to us demanded another table.
Look, I know it’s irritating to hear kids crying in a restaurant. I’ve been there. I still get there sometimes. But we weren’t ignoring her, and we were clearly trying to keep her calm. There was no need to be that rude about an upset kid in a sports bar. Maybe if it was some high end restaurant, but certainly not in a place where the tvs are so loud you can hardly hear the person across the table from you.
Anyways, as soon as I finished eating, I scooped her up and we went outside. I held her and sang to her and rocked her in the parking lot while she tried to calm down. She was settled into my arms until she heard Ellabelle come out of the restaurant. It was an early bed night for the girls.
3/20 was the first day of spring! And we didn’t get to really celebrate the arrival of my favorite season because it rained all day. Like really really rained. So soccer practice was cancelled. Again.

Over the next weekend, Josh worked overtime in the morning. Our friends were down in our neck of the woods so we met them at a playground. I love watching the kids all play together. It’s so crazy to think Josh was hardly done being a kid when him and Jeremy met and now we all stand around and watch our kids play together.
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3/29 Soccer practice was cancelled again. Ellabelle cried. Again. Thankfully, April started with a soccer game and some clearer skies.
So our March came in very busy (🦁) and out, like a lamb, it strolled. The weather was a bit wet and cold. So we spent a lot of time inside the house just hanging out.


Mattie had become attached to me and loves being in the kitchen with me while I cook. And when I find something she can help me with she will literally squeak with excitement.

April has already brought warmer weather so I’m so pumped for what the rest of the month has in store 🌷🐰🌷

Spring!!!

Spring is officially here! Believe it or not. And I am not about to let old moody Mother Nature kill my excitement. Yes, I realize it’s been cold and gross, and, yes, I am still wearing ugg boots and sweaters to work, but it is officially spring today and we are gonna celebrate all things spring. 

🌷🌷🌷

Rain boots (which we definitely need today😐)

Flowers

Pastels

Easter

Going to the zoo 

Sunshine 

Bubbles

Clouds (the good big fluffy kind)

Flip flops -cause those suckers are out as soon as it’s warm enough to not get frostbite. 

Puppy car rides (not pictures: her head out the window)

This little girl’s birthday

And this year – it means the beach!! Mattie’s never been, Ellabelle doesn’t remember going so it’s gonna be so much fun! 

🌷🌷🌷

Now, if only Mother Nature could get her act together give us some warm temps! ☀️

Resting and learning to rest

So, 2016 went out with a bang (or a surgery, same diff) and my 2017 started nice and slow. I literally slept for most of the first week. Pain pills and walking around the house like an old person kept me going. I hardly ate because I didn’t feel like it. When I was awake, I was depressed – depressed because I couldn’t hug my babies (like Matilda had to literally be kept away from me), I couldn’t spend time with my husband (cause I was so tired), I felt like I was failing as a mom and that I had failed myself somehow because my organ needed removed. None of this was true and Josh tried so hard to remind me of this. He did such an awesome job being a full time dad and taking care of a whiney sick wife. It was very hard on me because I hate just sitting around. It was also hard to do anything. So my body forced me to rest. I think it’s what I needed especially after Christmas. With being so busy almost everyday, maybe my body was just ready to take it easy. Funny how your body always seems to know.


We were both so relieved when I finally started feeling better on Friday, and on Saturday Oma watched the girls so Josh and I could go out for his birthday. We went down to Newport to eat at Joes Crab Shack because Josh loves seafood. The first thing that greeted us upon arrival was a firetruck. Josh pointed out this isn’t exactly the best sign at a restaurant you’re planning on eating at.


It was freezing, and the restaurant had a pipe burst. There was water flooding out of the bathrooms that a guy was trying to mop up. Thankfully, the kitchen was not affected. We had a nice quiet lunch, and Josh got him some mussels so he was a happy birthday boy.


When we got back my parents house to get the girls, Ellabelle had helped Oma bake a birthday cake for Josh. Ellabelle insisted it have strawberries on it. She then proceeded to pick off and eat every strawberry off the cake.


On Sunday, we went BW3s with my parents and Angie and Mike to celebrate Josh’s bday. The girls were awful as usual while out at a restaurant. However, they were both very happy to have a captive audience. Ellabelle ran back and forth around the table, and Mattie was unhappy because she wanted to run around too but was strapped into a high chair. Ellabelle threw a massive fit when we left because she was given a balloon by a table next to ours and she let it go almost as soon as she had it. She wanted another one and we were not about to ask the nice strangers for another so that mean the world was ending.
If you’re signed up for the Red Robin card, you get a free burger and so we went and got burgers for Josh’s birthday. We like to extend the birthdays around here. I’ve managed to stretch mine for a whole month before. Now, mind you, this was Monday. The first day back to work for me following my surgery as well as the first day of my “healthy lifestyle change.” I did not enjoy my salad for lunch and needed something fattening. Thankfully, I’ve been doing a lot better with the eating better and eating the right things when I do eat. That first day was rough though.


So, I came back to work and, while I was gone, I had received an invitation to my promotion ceremony. So I got to dress all nice and go to the Chief of Police’s staff meeting and he read a little thing about me and we took pictures and I got a certificate. It was all very exciting. Josh is jealous. He’s never been promoted so he’s never gotten to do this. He still makes more money than me so I’d rather have the cash then the certificate, but I get his point.


So I made it through my first week back fairly easily. I had a rough time with my incisions hurting, and I had to switch to yoga pants instead of work pants to help, but I pushed through. Martin Luther King Day was that next Monday. So, I took Ellabelle to see Moana in theaters. We went to one of those super fancy new theaters with the huge reclining leather chairs. She loved it and the icee and the movie.


She did super well during it. I thought she’d be a pain because this was my first movie with her and others who have taken her said she likes to talk and move around a lot, but she did great. Moana was absolutely adorable, and she loved it so much she’s getting the bluray for Valentine’s Day.
The next week ended in a down note – Donald Trump was inaugurated into the office of President. Hearing him referred to as president still makes my skin crawl every time. I’m still in denial about it, I guess. In an effort to help myself feel better about the world I’m raising two young girls in and to actually get out there and do something, I made Josh go to the local Women’s March.


He was reluctant at first, and not because he doesn’t support women’s rights. We got down there and the crowd was huge. It was amazing. Being surround by people who think like us and feel passionate about the same causes was something we needed. We live in a very conservative area and it’s so easy to feel lost and alone. Josh told me he was really glad I made him go. And we took the girls too. I wanted them to be a part of it even if they likely won’t remember it. Unfortunately, it looks it’s a fight they’ll be fighting along side me someday, but we have to start somewhere.


Ellabelle loved it because she thought she was in a parade.


After the march, I took Josh to his friends house, and he went off and had a guys night. So it was a girls night at the Hawkins House. We napped and hung out and made brownies and watched Lego Movie while we ate brownies.


We had a quiet morning the following day and then we went over to Oma and Opa’s house. Maisy had a puppy play date with her cousin Beanie. Maisy scared Beanie and chased her around the house at first, but eventually they both settled down. I don’t think they’ll be best buddies anytime soon, but at least they’ll be able to hang together in the future if necessary.

Josh and I both took our birthday holidays from work on the 27th. We literally slept all day since we were both so exhausted. We ran up to the Disney store though because I wanted to get Ellabelle’s Valentine’s Day gift because she wasn’t with us.
We all watched Big Hero 6 on the 28th. I’m not good at relaxing and sitting – especially for a movie. But I love my whole family being snuggled up on a couch. January’s was slow paced compared to December and even November. So I’m working hard on just being at home and being relaxed on weekend.


Ellabelle got her first library card. She was so excited. She picked out books for herself to check out, and she wants to go back to visit already. I’ve been trying to instill in my girls the love of reading, and so far so good.


Our month ended on a not so great note -Miss Ellabelle was sick. She had a bad cough and kept wanting to sleep on the couch which is way out of character. So Josh had to stay home with her. She’s doing better, but this crazy Ohio weather (mid-50s one day, snowing and 20s the next) is so hard on the girl’s sinuses anyways that it makes colds even worse.


My February is looking crazy on the calendar because there’s nothing planned. Sure, Valentine’s Day is in there, but my weekends are blank. I think I may be kinda happy about it. Like I said, I’m not good at doing nothing. So it’s a constant process to grow and slow down and just be. But I’m working on it. I want to be better. I want to learn to be more present. We spent most of the weekends in January at home. I was still healing, but it was nice to kinda hibernate. I love spending time with crazy girls. They keep things fun in the house even if they also keep it very loud and messy.

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

 

Dark tunnels

There’s that old saying that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. So, in theory, if you keep moving forward, eventually the darkness with turn back to light. For a while, that light felt more like a train barreling towards us, and us running the opposite direction, back into the dark, just hoping it doesn’t catch up and annihilate us. And lately, there’s been no light at all. Just us…sitting in the dark…waiting…hoping…for something to guide us back out.

Well, today is the first Monday of the year. It’s the first day of the first work week of the year. It was also my first day at my new job. And I’m not gonna go on the typical “new year, new me, new possibilities, yah!” spiel. No, I’m still in the pitch black tunnel for the time being. There’s no big excitement for a new year and starting over and all that junk.

I was very lucky to spend 8 months at home with EB when she was a baby. We struggled, but I was happy otherwise with being the one my baby interacted with and grew with every day. I returned to work and worked at that job til EB was 15 months old. Then I was home with her for another 4 months. Next, I got a day time job with regular hours. That job was cut short because of pregnancy complications. I was devastated. It really tore me up that the place I had planned to spend at least a couple of years, if not long term, had to let me go simply because of policy reasons. I felt like I had failed. Hindsight, that job was probably going to end up being a dead end, and the silver lining of being unemployed was that when Matilda showed up, I got to be with her every day just like I did with EB.

Anyway, today was kinda a big deal. It was hard to leave the girls especially Mattie. EB has been to two different babysitters. She knows the drill. She understands that mommy has to go to work. Mattie, on the other hand, doesn’t know why mommy left her with some stranger today for 9 hours. It breaks my heart…and I’m sure it’s probably harder on me than her. I did drop them off like a champ though. In and out. No tears. No problems.

Work was a bit weird today because it was the monday back for everyone after a 4 day weekend, and it was busy. So, I was little lost in the shuffle which I totally get. There are suppose to be 4 people doing my job. Well, 1 is me, and I have no idea what I’m doing yet. 2 is a vacant position that they interviewed for today. 3 is a lady who was off today. And 4 is the woman training me who happened to be absolutely swamped because it was just her and me and I’m still completely useless.

The day went quickly though. I was so happy to get my girls and head home. I asked EB about her day and here’s her account:

“I eat lunch and I play with the boys. I fall down at the babysitters. The boys fought me. I watch spongebob squarepants. Snacks. I did that! Mattie rolled over. The boys hurt my feelings. They hurt my heart. I fall down and I got a batman sword. I used that! I hit everybody with the sword. That’s my job.”

Never found out what or how the boys hurt her feelings, but apparently she had a productive day. Hopefully, mine will be just as productive tomorrow. I get to go sit in on court cases and shadow some. I’m just happy to be contributing to this family in a job that has some longevity possible. It’s been such a rough past month. December was hard for us – Christmas not included. I tried to make sure the girls got the holiday memories and experiences they deserve. Otherwise, I’m so grateful for a new year, new job, and, hopefully, a new light at the end of the tunnel

(fine, a little optimism managed to sneak in there)

Better late than never – October and November

I love holidays. I blame my mother. She decorates for every single holiday. There is hardly a day in a calendar year where her house is not decorated (Those rare days being the switch between two holidays). It wasn’t until high school that I realized that this holiday obsession makes her weird. And when I say weird, I mean it in the best way possible. Josh thinks it’s crazy. He doesn’t understand the point of it all. It’s safe to say that his dad wasn’t hanging heart covered garland for Valentine’s day or covering the house in bunnies for Easter so it’s no surprise. To me, decorating for holidays is just part of the change of the seasons. And changing season themselves are reasons to celebrate.

I’ve been itching for fall this year. Summer was weird this year, wet and cool, and it was spent down and out for the most part. Between the healing cesarian incision and having a newborn, I wasn’t in the holiday mood (Sleep deprivation will do that to you). Don’t get me wrong, I obviously was into the specific holidays as they rolled around, but the decorations and the celebration of the season wasn’t there. It was as tired as Josh and I was. So, fall. I’ve been waiting for it – tights and moccasins and hats and football and changing leaves and crisp air and pumpkins and turkeys and costumes and hot cider and the list could go on and on.

Oh, and just for the record, my house was decorated in falling leaves and light up spider webs complete with glowing spiders and creepy gauze and tombstones and garlands with skulls and pumpkins and spiders for all of October.

To start the month, on October 1, I had a structured oral exam with the police department of Blue Ash. I didn’t think I did very well. They only hired for one position so I didn’t have my hopes up, but I did get invited back for an interview. I never heard anything back to I didn’t get selected. 😦 Oh well, that’s life.

Then we started our busy weekends of October with the return of one the best parts of fall – football.

10/3 – Alex’s band performance

Alex is Josh’s sister’s daughter, and she plays the flute in the band. We were going to try and go to one of her games in September, but it poured down rain and we didn’t want to take Mattie out in it. So we rescheduled and it was still wet and rainy. We arrived before the beginning of the game, and we were bundled up. It was cold! Luckily, Mattie was dress in long sleeves and pants, her jacket, a hat, inside of her mei tai carrier against my chest with my jacket around her exposed legs and a hood on the carrier and blanket. She was the only one of us that was warm. Ellabelle was excited though and the rain couldn’t dampen her spirits. She had been saying all week, “Go see Alex play music!” We only stayed to see her perform til the start of the game because it was so cold. We said our hellos and then went to Josh’s mom’s house for hot chocolate. IMG_0587

10/4 – Bengals game

Auntie Ang and Mike watched the girls so that Josh and I could go see the Bengals face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. I was a little worried for them because both girls together can be a bit of a handful. They did wonderful though, even letting us go out to dinner before we picked them up, but I could tell they were happy to have them leave. IMG_0601IMG_1071

Where Ellabelle watched the game
Where Ellabelle watched the game

As for the game, the streak has been broken, they WON! I have never seen a professional team win while at the game – the Reds, the Blue Jackets and both Bengals games I had been to. Well, third times a charm because they beat the Chiefs! It was an amazing and exciting game to get to see live. IMG_0614 IMG_0626IMG_0618IMG_0608

Lately Ellabelle has been wanting the match Mattie when I get them both dressed. So, besides the adorableness of tights and knee socks, theres also sister matching going on. 

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10/10 – Barn n Bunk Pumpkin Patch and Lisa’s 50th Birthday Party

I’ve been waiting and waiting (not so patiently) to take both of my girls to a pumpkin patch. We went to the same one we went to last year. We went through the corn maze, IMG_0876 IMG_0870

Ellabelle rode the train, IMG_0882

rode the tractor ride around the pumpkin field, IMG_0890

and checked out the pumpkins for sale. IMG_0923IMG_0931

We let Ellabelle pick out a pumpkin for her and one for Mattie. IMG_1290

A pumpkin patch is everything that is fall – all the smells (straw and cinnamon), all the sights (dying corn, which is kinda depressing if you think about it so don’t think too hard about it, and pumpkins), and the feels (both physically – baby wearing and rest your chin on her knit hat and carrying pumpkins by the stem – and emotionally – my heart swelling as Ellabelle jumps up and down when she finds the right pumpkin). IMG_0859 IMG_1044

After the pumpkin patch, we took Ellabelle and Mattie to spend the night at Mamaw and Papaw’s so we could go to Lisa’s birthday party. Ellabelle was over the moon about it. 

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We went to Django’s in Northside for dinner with everyone. The shrimp tacos are amazing. IMG_0936 IMG_1084

We went back to the neighborhood bar, The C&D, for about 2 hours. Josh and I sat and watched the first Iron Man at the bar. Everyone kept saying we were being anti-social, but it was crowded and watching a movie without someone screaming or throwing toys across the room was exactly what we love to do without our munchkins. We did get into the group before the party bus showed up and then once on the bus. It was a great time on the bus. What’s better than cruising and belting out some of your favorite songs with like 20 really awesome people? IMG_0945 IMG_0951

Josh dancing
Josh dancing

10/11 – Soccer

Ellabelle had a lot of fun at soccer. There were only 4 kids that showed up (out of 15?), and she loved the games they played. IMG_1085IMG_0971

10/12 – Job interview

I had a job interview bright and early on Monday morning. Poor daddy had to take the girls to work til I was done. The good news is I got the job! It’s part time and in the evenings making pretty decent money. I had to go take the drug test so it was almost noon before I saved daddy from the trouble twins. IMG_1086IMG_1087

10/17 – Trent spends the night and Alex’s band competition

We watched Trent Saturday into Sunday. Ellabelle was ecstatic to wake up and have “Cook” here (Her “Tr”s come out like “C”s). We went to watch Alex play with her high school band in a competition. We had no idea what to expect, but it was actually pretty cool to watch. Afterwards, we went to Marion’s and had pizza. Ellabelle was glued to Trent’s side the whole evening, and I know she was sad when he had to go home the next day. IMG_1134 IMG_1133 IMG_1135IMG_1155

10/18 – Last soccer practice of the year

Only 6 kids showed up, but it was a fun closure to Ellabelle’s first attempt at soccer. IMG_1218 IMG_1207 IMG_1215 IMG_1263

10/22 – Library craft day

Our library does craft days every month for kids ages 3-5. Ellabelle was ecstatic when we got there and there was a huge group of kids. The theme was trees, and they made two crafts, listened to a book about trees, and learned a fun song. 

We also carved pumpkins. Ellabelle painted her little one. IMG_1277 IMG_1279 IMG_1291

We carved the bigger pumpkins. Ellabelle hated the guts but loved the seeds. IMG_1578 IMG_1569 IMG_1575

She was terrified of them once we put them outside though IMG_1589

This is seriously as close as she'd get even in the daylight
This is seriously as close as she’d get even in the daylight

10/24 – Halloween Trick or Treat at the Library and Britnee’s wedding reception

The library had a not scary halloween event on Saturday morning. Ariel and Sleeping Beauty looked adorable. Ellabelle loved all the games, won a few prizes, and got some candy. We also checked out a few books about Halloween. IMG_1367

Mattie had fun too!
Mattie had fun too!

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Saturday night was 2nd cousin Britnee’s wedding reception. The wedding had been a week before in Florida, and they had a regular reception up here. Ellabelle had a blast! She loved dancing and being with her Auntie Ang and Mike. I, personally, love weddings. So, it was a great night. Josh was exhausted because he had worked 10 hour days at work before hand so him and Mattie weren’t as into it all as much as Bee and I were, but it was still a lot of fun. IMG_1513 IMG_1523

10/31 – Trick or Treating with Ellabelle’s “boys” and Lisa’s Halloween Party

We went trick or treating around our friend’s neighborhood because 1) no one gives out candy in our neighborhood and 2) Ellabelle loves seeing her boys. We rode in a golf cart which ended up being a great idea because of the little legs and the crowds. Ellabelle and Hudson trick or treated for the full two hours and scored a ton of candy. IMG_1722 IMG_1732 IMG_1723

We went to Lisa’s halloween party afterwards. Ellabelle played on Lisa’s iPad. Mattie was unhappy with Oma’s clown make up. Josh fell asleep (which happens every year somehow). IMG_1726

A few random pics:

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Aaannndddd . . . now November.

November has been crazy for us. I’ve been working every evening, and Josh has been working 10 hour days for overtime. Life has been beyond stressful financially which has taken a toll on us emotionally Our furnace had to be fixed. Our car is still in the process of being fixed. I’m honestly happy to see it go. I’m so excited about what December holds for us. But for now, November (mostly in pictures):

11/3 – We voted 12191195_10101061637981280_1725614924284367627_o

11/6 – Josh and I had our 9 year anniversary. We didn’t do anything, but its still worth noting. lol

11/7 – Thanksgiving Craft Day at the library

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11/8 – Out for Oma’s birthday

We ended up at Logan’s and it was yummy. 12208394_10101065048496580_3865265573986997796_n

11/15 – With my schedule at work, we had to put the Christmas decorations up early. We started by raking up the leaves to begin with. EB was daddy’s big helper.

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Ellabelle loved helping with the lights too. 12241462_10101069646272600_9203201950836428002_n 12243050_10101069676816390_2446718015103309887_n 12219388_10101069676911200_8521092962374019006_n 12208358_10101069109208880_602206747596361411_n12241404_10101069646292560_4791130334071619673_n

11/21 – We mailed the girls letters to Santa

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11/23 – Mattie’s 6 month check up

All 16lbs of my chunk is healthy and happy 12278964_10101074417810400_8566353417462208522_n

11/26 – Thanksgiving

We all matched!
We all matched!
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Great Grandma with her namesake and EB
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with Auntie Ang
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4 generations

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11/27 – Helped decorate Oma and Opa’s tree & Christopher Pop-in-kins came back

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September…finally

From May to the end of July, we are busy. Always. Like every day. It’s pretty nonstop. But August comes and things slow down, and it’s a nice welcome change. This year was no different. August came and went with little to report on. Oktoberfest slipped in there and that’s always fun, but it’s a pretty slow month compared to the 3 before it. Then September arrived. And it was crazy busy. More so than I expected. As previously reported, we went out for my birthday, we slipped in some pool visits before they closed it (try explaining to a 3 year old that its hot, but the pool closed all of a sudden), labor day weekend was busy with the park and the Reds game, but it just kept coming.

Not that being busy is bad. It’s not. Josh will tell you I don’t know how to relax, and that’s true. I like to have things planned and go and do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted at the end of the day too.

So, our September (from where we left off):

9/12 – Cincy Comicon

Josh volunteered in the morning, and the girls and I met him after. Ellabelle was dressed as the 11th doctor, and Mattie was a dalek (with her own whisk and plunger cause what’s a dalek without them?)

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We got some cool stuff and saw some awesome things. It’s always nice to be surrounded by your own (cough::nerds::cough) when normally people in Cincinnati aren’t the most welcoming of anything different.

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9/13 – Soccer with Mamaw, Papaw, and TrentIMG_9524 IMG_9522

9/18-9/19 – Mini-trip for my birthday

Josh surprised me with a trip to Northern Ohio for my birthday. We drove up and stayed in Port Clinton, OH for the night. IMG_9865

We spent Friday on Put-in-Bay, an island just off the shore of the mainland. You have to take a ferry to the island cause it’s the only way to get there. IMG_9908

Josh was so mesmerized by all the water. IMG_9948 IMG_9928 

He kept saying he thought all of Ohio looked like Cincinnati (metropolitan) or farmland. He had no idea there really was a beach in the state. The island was fun, but expensive. The only things we bought were all $1 on clearance. lol. Oh and drinks at the worlds longest bar. IMG_9910

We ate a restaurant back in Port Clinton for dinner called Crosswinds, and Josh is still talking about it. I got the rueben pizza, and it was ah-mazing! We’ve already copied the recipe here at home.

It was so good it deserves its own picture
It was so good it deserves its own picture

We also went and saw the Marblehead lighthouse before we left.  

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It was so beautiful up on the lake (even with the overcast). Josh has already said he can’t wait to go back.

It was so nice but so strange to be away from the girls. It was quiet, and we could talk to each other without being interrupted every other word, and we got to pick what we wanted to listen to on the radio! It was so nice.

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But, as moms do, I missed them like crazy and was so happy to see them when we got home. It was nice to get away for the night and recharge. It was definitely needed.

9/20 – Soccer with Oma, Jean, Auntie Ang, Mike, and Lisa 

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9/21 – Mattie’s 4 month check up

Oma took Ellabelle home with her after soccer on Sunday because I had to take Mattie to the doctor’s for her check up. She’s gained almost 3.5lbs and has grown over 2 inches. She looks chunky, but she’s in the 41 percentile for both height and weight so she’s proportionate. She got four shots and an oral vaccine, and she was not happy about any of it. 

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After I picked up Ellabelle from Oma’s, I had to run to Hobby Lobby. I told her if she was good that she could pick out anything she wanted. She always begs for candy so I figured that’s what she’d pick. Honestly, I thought she wouldn’t be good. She was extremely well behaved (bribes do work sometimes, I guess) and picked out a christmas tree. I tried to convince her that she wanted candy or a toy or art supplies, but no. So I ran with it. I got her lights and ornaments too. She loves her “sparkle tree” (because its too early to have a christmas tree out) IMG_0104

9/23 – Playground day

I took the girls to the playground per Ellabelle’s request. I had never attempted this alone before, and it was as hard as I expected. I wore Mattie, and Ellabelle insisted on wearing her Elsa dress.

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She kept saying she had to see Elsa and Anna at the playground and wailed about it as we left. I can’t believe she remembers going to see them at a playground over a year before and have no idea how she even got it in her head that we were going to go see them that day!

July 2014 - How does she remember this?!
July 2014 – How does she remember this?!

9/26 – Max’s birthday party, Cincinnati Rollergirls game, and Josh’s guys night.

Max’s party was over in Northern Kentucky. It was a monster themed party so I dressed Ellabelle up as a witch and out Mattie in her monster onesie and tutu. Problem was it was so windy that Ellabelle’s hat kept flying off. IMG_0362IMG_0379

There was food and games and a playground (which was Ellabelle’s favorite part). IMG_0365 IMG_0428IMG_0371

We got to see people we don’t get the chance to see very often which was really nice. I wish there was more time to fit more outings with friends in, but with only one income and two kids to hull around now it’s just become harder and harder.

After that we met Lisa at her house and met her two little kittens she’s taking care of. Ellabelle was in love cause she loves animals. We then went to the CRG game. It wasn’t at their usual facility (the Cincinnati Gardens), but I think it was more fun at this place. IMG_0429IMG_0389

Josh left halfway through the first game to head to Indiana for his guys night. That left me with both girls, but luckily Lisa loves helping out with them. Ellabelle got bored which is typical of a three year old. So, Lisa found some cones and she played with them.  IMG_0406

Halftime came and they had a dance competition for moms with sons and dads with daughters so Ellabelle and I couldn’t enter. That didn’t stop Ellabelle though. She ran out into the middle of the track and shook it off! She came back to me when the music stopped, and when the started it again she was gone. She got cheers from the stands as she ran back out. Sailor Scary, one of the rollergirls, went out and danced with her. IMG_0415IMG_0408

After halftime, Ellabelle kept trying to run back out on to the track because “I play rollergirls, mommy!!” I had to keep a super close eye on her. Once the game was over, I let Ellabelle finally “play” on the track (aka run around in circles).

I got them home and in bed with no problems which was a small triumph since it was my first time hauling them in and putting them to bed alone.

9/27 – Soccer and Aunt Naoma’s birthday party

Every Sunday we fight with Ellabelle to keep working the whole hour of soccer practice. She gets tired and wants to just sit and watch. 

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This practice was a full on battle. Josh got her to work for 30 mins, but then she came a laid down on the blanket I had out of Mattie. She was so tired from her no-nap busy day the day before that I didn’t blame her. IMG_0421

We had to be all the way in Germantown anyways so we left early. It’s a good thing we left early too because they ended the party an hour early so if we had stayed the whole time everyone might’ve been gone. Mattie got to meet her Great-Great Aunt. 12074849_10207813756091067_2054770987960855525_n

She was pretty cranky from her busy day the day before as well. So, it was ultimately a good thing that it ended early. We got to go home and rest before a busy week. IMG_0427

9/28 – Amy took a city test for Clerk Typist 3

Not much to report here. I took the test. Oma and Opa watched the girls. No results have been posted for it yet. IMG_0462IMG_0492

And now we’re into October (well into it, I’m afraid. I’ve been so behind on posting). We’ve been booked solid this month as well. I thought we might have a break to slow down before the madness of the holidays starts, but it looks like we’re gonna be busy until January at this point! I’ll update October’s madness at a later date, but here’s a little taste of the season to hold you over. IMG_9481

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