Sunday, December 23, 2012

Subtle Metamorphosis

The gloom and doom of last week has really helped me focus on truly seeing my children in all their sticky glory.  I will forever remember feeling rocked to the core when I heard about Sandy Hook.  My own precious littles were each running around with a "dark pink", as Cora requested, helium balloon.  For a moment, time in our house stood still.  Everything froze around me except for my two tiny children running in circles after each other.  I memorized that moment in every detail as I mourned for the parents that only have the memories to cling to.

This week I've been stuck at home with the nastiest of colds.  I should be out finishing shopping, and planning Christmas dinner and baking and delivering and making those around me that I love feel loved, but I've really only had the energy to do the essentials, for which the bar has been set extremely low...cheddar bunnies, monterrey jack cheese and yogurt make a great breakfast, right?  Maybe if you work for the dairy council.  While three days with a fever has made me feel quite rotten, it has gifted me with some extended time at home to just BE with my children.   

They are changing so quickly.  Claire's changes are more obvious, and I've another blog post planned for her.  Cora's changes are much more subtle.  The roundness of her belly is becoming less noticeable.  Stubby, chubby toes and fingers are looking more and more like little girl hands and feet.  Her thin wispy hair that didn't grow for the entire first year is now past her shoulders.  All of these little changes are quickly adding up to be BIG changes...changes that I don't always notice until I look back at the last few months of pictures.  This morning she was in our bed laying crossways and she said, "Mom, look how long I am!!"  She is even noticing her own changes.  

The other day she sat in my lap and pulled my arms around her and asked me to make a quite space with my arms.  I loved that moment.  Last night Rob and I took the girls out to look at some Christmas lights.  We drove around listening to Christmas music and out of nowhere she said, "Merry Christmas Mommy and Daddy."  I loved that moment.  I am so lucky that I get to spend nearly all of my moments with her.  She always tells me "I so missed you" when I am away from her.    

These days she doesn't eat anything because she is too busy talking and pretending.  Make believe play always extends to the dinner table which at times can be exasperating even though it is mostly entertaining.  She is in a "how" phase instead of a "why" phase asking "how" hundreds of times per day.  

Her interests range from dancing in frilly dresses to Darth Vader and lean mostly toward the latter.  At the Norman Christmas parade it was Darth Vader she eagerly awaited instead of Santa.  She asked Santa for a Darth Vader costume for Christmas; I sure hope he comes through.  She already knows the secret family relations of Vader, Luke and Princess Leia, and no, she hasn't seen the movies.  

Her opinions on what to wear are quite strong.  She much prefers to dig through Claire's drawers than her own for outfits.  She can still squeeze into an 18 month onesie and pants and doesn't think twice about heading outside with bold confidence.  May she keep that confidence for a very long time.  

Her unbridled joy and enthusiasm for EVERYTHING is very energizing.  Emotionally, she is starting to care about the feelings of others and is showing genuine concern.  In October, when my grandmother died, she held me so tightly as I cried my eyes out.  Then, at the cemetery where we interned my grandmother's ashes, she left my side to go wipe my mother's tears.  It was absolutely touching and her compassion left a permanent mark on my heart.  

While she didn't take too warmly to becoming a sister for quite some time, she is certainly taking to it now.  She loves and cares for Claire and watching them play together like nothing else.  I pray often that they will always have a close and loving relationship.  

Her are a few of my favorite pictures from the last year.  Not really in great order.   

Spring 2012 - Helping in the Garden

Spring 2012 - Out of nowhere you just picked up the chalk and started drawing people.  Her drawings are getting more elaborate.  Today she drew a "Spider Bat" that had scales on its wings and then immediately erased it to draw a whale with Jonah in its belly.

Early summer 2012 - You were in the backyard with me working on a project.  I got you some paper so you could try the paint roller.  After you painted your arms you said "I'm Spiderman!"  I just stripped you down and used the water hose to wash you off in the baby pool.  The water turned pink and you were fascinated by it. 

Summer Vacation, September 2012 - You loved playing with this truck on the beach.  You learned to swim unassisted on this trip!  You would put your goggles on and swim with your face in the water.

October 2012 - You and Claire dressed as Marci and Conga.

December 2012 - Wearing your cycling clothes like Daddy and playing in your dollhouse.  You saw that purple tree at Hobby Lobby back in October.  I told you that after Thanksgiving, we could go get a tree for your room.  Right after Thanksgiving you promptly reminded me.  Since this photo you cut a spiral in a coffee filter and decorated it.

December 2012 - Playing in the leaves.  You were pulling Claire around in that green wagon having the best time.

A carefully curated outfit for a bike ride.

Summer 2012 - We made a water slide!  When you are older, you need to ask your dad about trying to go down the slide while standing up.

July 2012 - Contemplating Cake at your third birthday party.  We had camping themed party in the backyard.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Momo

Momo reading to Cora the day after Christmas, 2010.

Dear Momo,

I remember this day like it was yesterday.  My head was still buzzing from a surprisingly positive pregnancy test and the excitement of sharing the news with you, Popo and Mom and Dad.  You were all lined up on the leather couch here when Rob and I told everyone about the extra present that wouldn't arrive until August.  Squeals, hugs and happy dances were had by all.  It was a wonderful day.  Very special to have four generations of family celebrating in one room.    

This picture captures so much of what is special to me about you.  You read this book to Cora as if it was the single most important thing in the world at the time.  Your enthusiasm so genuine and your delicate hands pointing out all the words.  You have so much love inside of you for your grandchildren and great grandchildren.  We've all been engulfed and bettered by it.   

Even though you've lived 16 hours away for nearly my entire life, I've never felt the distance.  Your support has been unwavering over the years and you've made every effort to be as close to me as possible.  I hope that you have felt my efforts as well.  Many of my fondest and most important memories of my childhood and beyond are centered around road trips to Alabama of you coming to our house in Texas.  Time spent with you over the years is time I will greatly cherish.  I have so many sweet memories tucked away in the corners of my mind; they are little nuggets of treasure that I can admire as often as I like.  

There are so many things about you that make you an amazing grandmother.  When we were younger you baked with us, played card games late into the night with us, took us to the beach, played pretend, told us stories, cuddled us, kissed us, let us sleep in the bed with you, made us feel special and important, kept up with our accomplishments, encouraged us in our failures, loved us unconditionally even when were complete twits, and ALWAYS had time to talk and listen.  You still always have time to talk and listen.  I always appreciated calling you in my college years and young adulthood to talk with you about the tough stuff in life.  You've always been great at listening and talking through something without just throwing out a solution.  

You are an incredibly smart and funny woman, not to mention beautiful.  Your sense of humor, even in sickness is still wonderful.  Your love for your family is still strong even though your body is so weak.  Your smile has always had the ability to light up the room and your contagious laugh spreads quicker than the flu.

From the time I was a little girl, I've always thought of you as a brave woman.  One time in particular I remember you driving my brother and me across the country in your big old black Cadillac.  We got lost in Memphis and you calmly found your way again as if nothing ever happened.  Then there was that time you rode the water slides with us in Atlanta and I thought, "Now that is an awesome grandma!".  Now, as you battle cancer, that bravery is especially brilliant.  Even though the treatment hasn't worked like we all hoped it would, you have certainly fought hard.  Your fight in the last few months has allowed our family some special time together that I will never forget.  Celebrating your birthday with everyone together was beyond special.  I hope we didn't wear you out too much.  

Having you in my life has always made everything seem so grand.  Remember the trip we made to Georgia to the Cabbage Patch Hospital?  I remember staying in a little place down by a river that had a tiny kitchenette.  We had some packaged honey buns that we pretended to cook in the skillets.  To me, that breakfast was so gourmet.  I remember making numerous trips to the beauty shop with you; in my tiny human mind, you were this celebrity of the beauty shop and I was your sidekick.  I loved sitting under the dryer looking at the magazines while you got your hair done.

The hours spent on your back deck with cousins, family and friends, laughing and joking as kids and later talking politics and religion as adults, has greatly shaped me as a person.  OH, and speaking of the back porch, do you remember the magic shows?  I wanted you to make me a cape and you picked out the most luxurious black and red fabric to sew one up for me.  I just want you to know how much I appreciated that.

Also, remember when we ate at Sabarro's in New York City?  You hit the nail on the head when you said they were rushing us through the line like cattle.  I'm so happy that we went on that trip together to experience the Big Apple.  I hope you had as much fun as I did.  I want to take my girls there someday to see all the same things we did.

We've had our share of little arguments and hurt feelings over the years, but I always knew your love was there.  You've always made time and made your grandchildren a priority.  You've also poured your love into your great grandchildren.    Thank you for that.  They will hear many many stories about you and how special you are.  

I wish we could have more time together.  I'm still having a difficult time with the fact that you will not be in our Earthly presence forever.  I write this not to make you sad, but because I really, really need you to know how much you mean to me.  Thanks for being brave and for giving us the time you have.  We are all so lucky to have been touched by your love.

All my love,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Six Months in Photos

I love writing, really I do.  I want to write more but it is difficult to find the time and energy.  I also love taking pictures of my children but even that doesn't happen as frequently as it did with my firstborn.  Is it too late to resolve to take more photos and write more in 2012?  Nah, it's never too late for a resolution.

So where has all my time and energy gone?  I see other moms with two or more young children and they seem to be firing on all cylinders.  But me?  There have been mornings when I couldn't even find the keys to get the day started.  Claire has struggled with GERD (reflux) and it seems like many of my days have been spent trying to get her to comfortably eat and many of my nights spent trying to get her to sleep.  We've had weeks at a time of night wakings every 45 minutes, including this week, and only catnaps during the day, and feeding after feeding being a battle.  Babies should love to eat, right?  It has killed me to see her in pain.

She is finally outgrowing the reflux and things seem to be going smoother, although at times I can still tell she suffers from pain.  After experiencing this minor health problem, I don't see how parents of VERY sick babies even make it through the day.  Their strength amazes me.

So here is what we've been up to the last six months.

Sisters at home the first week.  I made this quilt for Claire before she was born.  Cora promptly considered it hers, even though she has one of her own, and we've successfully handed it over to Claire.   

First time holding baby sister.  She didn't like it when Claire started crying.  

First real bath.  Cora didn't have hers for a month because it took that long for her belly stump to fall off.  I accidentally ripped Claire's off when it got caught on my shirt after a diaper change the first week.  

First OU/TX party.  Hopefully the big kids will let her play with them when she gets older.

See the brown bear in the picture?  Rob bought this for the Claire at the hospital to welcome her.  When Cora came to meet her she confiscated it and "Shaggy Bear" as she lovingly named it has been in her crib ever since.  She knows who it belongs to because one day she asked me where Claire's bear was.  That little tricky girl.

Matching outfits from a good friend and the pumpkin patch.  Need I say more?

Already having tea parties together.  This was a daddy moment.  He is wonderful with our kids. 

Carving and painting pumpkins.  This girl loves to paint herself.  Of course,  Dad isn't necessarily discouraging it. 

My pitiful excuse for a mouse costume.

A little cat and mouse for Halloween.  

Another new friend to welcome to the gang! 

Thanksgiving Day.  It is really hard to get a good picture of them together.  We took them to see a choreographed light Christmas light show this night and they both squealed with delight.  Claire's squeals were probably due to overstimulation, but hey, the second kid just has to come along, right? 

Someone is potty trained!  This kiddo decided to start the week Claire entered the world.  Really?   She caught on quickly and can now do it all on her own on the big potty with a step stool.  I've really put in the hours sitting on the side of the tub waiting...but I've found we have some really great conversations. 

Despite her constant struggles with eating, she really likes to SMILE!

Christmas crafts double as snacks!

Sporting our Christmas duds early for a family dance night at our church. 

Loves, loves, loves to paint, draw on herself. 

Cora gave up naps two weeks before Claire as born.  Really, child?  She still has quiet time each day and regulates herself by taking a nap every ten to twenty days.  This was a rare moment. 

Making cookies on Christmas Eve.  Rob came home from work that evening sick as a dog with a stomach virus and Claire was on a major eating strike.  Half of our family skipped dinner that night.

Rob was out cold by 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  Yeti was offering him some support.  Notice how his head is my side of the bed and his feet are on his.  After getting the kids to bed I was up doing that special thing parents do on Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed by myself and was a little melancholy.  I ended up watching the Sound of Music on television that night not knowing that Rob had it wrapped up under the tree for our family.  

This girl LOVES trains.

Need to give a shout out to my mom.  She knitted the sweaters and hat in this pic.  

Very into DRESSING and UNDRESSING these days.  

Becoming a good helper in the kitchen.  Here she is making waffles. 

Every time she paints we get hobo face.

The swim suit is her current favorite outfit.  She wears it almost everyday and just puts clothes on over it when we go somewhere.  Here she is modeling it backwards.  Her dance dress takes a close second. 

Cora playing Mary and Baby Jesus.  Game and props were totally unprompted.

This girl has some crazy, fuzzy hair.  Mom just has crazy hair that is falling out and turning grey like an April afternoon during severe weather season.

Fingerpainting.  I usually don't consider embarking on creative endeavors with Cora as mistakes no matter the mess, but this one was a different story.  She is certainly tactile.  I think it was precisely at this point that Claire woke from her nap ten minute nap.

Enjoying a little Okie snow from the comfort of Mama's coat.

Enjoying Okie snow in her carefully selected outfit.  That hat is meant for a six month old..
Blogger is being snarky and won't let me add this photo last so we are a little out of order.  Anyway, today is Claire's six month birthday.  We had an awesome day filled with outside play.  So happy to be a mama to these two littles. 

Valentine's Day.  Too tired to go out so we had a lovely date night in.  In the last six months we've had one date night.  We unexpectedly ended up at a Contra Dance and had a wonderful time.  Shout out to Rob's folks for being so much help with the girls.

Here's to more blogging in the next six months!!!