Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life Lessons Month of November: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

I’m not sure how time is flying by so fast… I can hardly believe it’s November 1st!  Your brother is 5 weeks old already!  

And now that you are back from Disney and into your routine again, you have definitely realized Will is here to stay.  For the most part, you are kind and loving toward him (still wanting to help feed, grab diapers, and let him be a part of bedtime stories) but once in awhile I think he crimps your style :)

You don’t like it when your Mimi holds Will… I think because you associate Mimi as yours and I am so appreciative that your Mimi respects your feelings.  She always gives Will back to me to turn her attention over to you after you ask her to play.  Not too long ago, I asked your Mimi to hold Will when I ran upstairs to throw in laundry and I could hear you saying to her, “Just leave him!  Put him down and just leave him!” as you were trying to lead Mimi into your playroom!  Last week, you told me that you wanted to change Will’s name to George so I said, “Ok, we can call him George tonight,” (thinking that Will really wouldn’t mind).  And you responded, “Not just for tonight.  Forever!”  Luckily, you forgot about his name change by the next morning.  Two days ago, I called Will, my love bug (which I also affectionately call you too) but you didn’t like sharing your nickname.  “Hey, that’s my name!” you yelled and then said I could call Will, “Just Buggie”.  And yesterday you told me that I needed to yell at Will for being mean to you so I had to ask, “What did he do?”  And you said, “I told him I loved him and he told me that he has to think about if he loved me back!”  I didn’t know how to handle that situation so I pretended to scold Will with, “In this family Will, we love everyone unconditionally so that answer is not ok.”  Oh Ellie!  I know you are trying to understand your new place but know that you could never be forgotten and our feelings for you have only grown deeper and stronger.   

I have to say though that I appreciate all of the well wishes that have been sent our way.  Our family and friends remember you and your new role as a big sister too!  This is such a huge transition for you (and for your Dad and I also).  The people we cherish the most have definitely honored that.  We had cooked meals for the first three weeks of coming home from the hospital and we have been inundated with congratulatory phone calls, texts, messages over Facebook, cards, presents, and guests.  We feel so very loved!

But as for my lesson this week, it stems from not forgetting yourself even in the midst of many changes.  

Life Lessoned Learned #35: Don’t lose site of yourself when your life becomes hectic.

Now that Will is a month old, I feel comfortable leaving him for a few hours.  Taking time for yourself after having a baby is completely necessary to do once in a while (although I love every second with you and your brother, children can make it difficult to remember your other roles aside from being a mom).  So as your Dad watched you and Will, I went over to your Aunt Sammy’s for a GNO (girls’ night out).  Samantha is a wonderful hostess… not only does she have the best homemade food and decorations, her parties are always themed in incredibly creative ways.  So on this night, she used Oprah’s Favorite Things as her subject matter.  All of the fifteen guests were to bring 2 of their favorite items they couldn’t live without but each couldn’t be over $10 (I brought my favorite book, The Book Thief, and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc).  And the idea is that each woman would go home with someone else’s 2 favorite things to try.  And what’s more is that Samantha never lets her guests get bored… she always has activities (that have to do with the theme) on hand.  For this girls’ evening, we played her made up version of Scattagories revolving around Favorite Things (with questions like favorite date night spots in State College and favorite wine) and Samantha awarded the winners with prizes (of her favorite things).  Samantha takes pride in her social events and they truly bring people together.   I came home feeling reenergized and missing my two beautiful babies (and I must admit that I came home a little early as I can’t stay away for too long)!  Taking even a small time apart makes your head clear and your heart full.

I love you Ellie Bean!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life Lessons Month of October: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hello my little Cinder-Ellie!

Now that we are back from Disney, I definitely need to write something about our trip, as it was one of the best vacations I have ever experienced!  However, since we were gone for 5 days and from past blogs you know I would love to write about the day-to-day events in detail, but that would lead to at minimum a 10 page story!  So I won’t.  I’ve thought of another interesting approach instead.  But before I go into it, I do hope you remember this trip for always Ellie as we shared our Disney stay with your cousin Colin and our cousins Steve and Jackie, Colin’s grandparents!

And what a wonderful time it was.  Both you and Colin (who is 1 year older than you) got along wonderfully.  During park-time as well as downtime the 2 of you chatted incessantly, entertained each other as well as us adults, and giggled at each other’s silliness!

The only time I actually saw Colin put his foot down to your many requests was when you insisted on him being a Prince!  He made it very clear to you El on the very first day that he does not like Princesses and he is not and never will be a Prince.  In Colin’s words, he “is a Boy” with a capital B!  Now with that being said I shall continue with my lesson.

Life Lessoned Learned #34: Don’t assume you would automatically know The Top 10 List of ‘Favorite Vacation Moments to Share With Mom and Dad” from a 3 ½ year old child’s perspective!

Ellie, when we arrived home I was so excited to share with your Mom all the really cool things we did.  I assumed you were too!  After watching your excitement throughout our stay I was pretty sure I had your list down pat.  If I were to ‘get into your head’ this is what I thought you would have said when your Mommy asked you (so this would be your perspective) to tell her all about Disney:

1.)  The Mickey Mouse Not So Scary Halloween Parade was by far the best one ever!  There was a headless horseman who rode through the streets and I wasn’t afraid at all!  Colin was a little bit, but I rubbed his back and told him it was pretend.  I wanted to wear my pink poodle costume but Mimi said I would be too hot so Poppy bought me a Cinderella dress with real glass slippers… oh and a princess crown too!

    Colin was an astronaut and he said he was a brave one at that.  We had front row seats right underneath the rope and got lollipops when the characters gave out candy!
2.)  My first Disney ride was on the teacups and I spun it so fast that Poppy and Mimi got soooooooo dizzy!
     And then the very next ride that Colin and I went on was Dumbo.  That ride is ok, but the circus tent that you have to pass through before you get on the ride is super fun.  It has sliding boards and climbing nets and stairs that bounce and a kid house with doors everywhere!  You get a beeper to hold and when it goes off that means it is time to get back in the Dumbo line, but if you want you can stay in the circus tent forever!

3.)  Mimi and Poppy and Jackie and Steve took us to the pool each afternoon and I learned how to go down the little water slide swiftly.  First I would put my toes together and hold on to them with my hands.  That made me go fast! Then I figured out that if I pushed off the sides of the wall, that way worked even better.  Mimi called me a torpedo!  Poppy let me go down it a million times!

4.)  Colin and I got our grandparents to take us to see the Country Bear Jamboree 2 times.  Colin’s favorite animal is the talking deer on the wall.  My favorite bear is Big Al… he’s really fat and sings a funny song in a funny voice!  Silly Jackie asked me if they were real animals.   I told her “Of course they were!”
5.)  The Moon Ride is still my favorite… I don’t know why but everyone else calls it the People Mover.  It is kind of like a roller coaster but doesn’t go up and down.  You can see stars and planets and a lot of the other Disney rides while on it.
6.)  Animal Kingdom was a lot of fun.  We went on the Safari and saw the Lion King Show, but the best part was when we went to Dino Land and I got to play in a huge, huge, huge sandbox.  It had pails and shovels and even bones that we could find.  I got yelled at 1 time from a sandbox guard because I took my shoes off and wasn’t suppose to.  But that was ok; I just put them back on again.

7.)  At the Hollywood Studios Park we got to see 3 shows:  Disney Junior, The Little Mermaid and the Muppet Show.  That last one was really cool because we got to wear 3D glasses!
8.)  My favorite park is the Magic Kingdom and I was so glad that Poppy and Mimi took me there everyday.  We got to see the fireworks and the Castle show and watch Tinkerbelle fly.
9.)  Poppy bought me the snowman stuffed animal (which I named Chilly) from the movie Frozen.
     Every time Poppy and I watch the commercial to promote it I giggle because when the snowman sneezes his head always pops off!  I hope Poppy buys me the reindeer that’s in the movie too.  I think his name is Ice.  I would like to have him.
10.)    Poppy got us the best hotel room.  Our window faced the Magic Kingdom.  Some days we walked to the park and other days we rode the Monorail.  Jackie and Mimi brought games and crafts for us to do in the room.  We had lots and lots of fun!

All right Ellie… now it is time to for me to write what you actually shared with your Mommy and Daddy about our Disney experience.  At 3 ½ you my little princess, have a unique mind that thinks like no other.  See for yourself.

1.     We went to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast and while I was there I was waiting for Goofy to sign my autograph book.  Do you know what he did?  He stepped on my foot!

2.     Colin didn’t go on the Ariel ride with me because he only likes boy things.
3.     One night I got a vanilla ice cream in a cup with chocolate ears.
4.     There was a big Gumball machine in Mickey’s Halloween Parade.
5.     Mimi and me went to the Jack Black show but I didn’t raise my hand to be in it because I was too shy.  Maybe next time.  (Ellie, the show was actually a short skit and the actor in it was Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean!  Thought this might need some clarification in years to come!)
6.     The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride.  I like the tiny ghost who rode in the car with us. 

7.     Colin had glitter stuck to his face that came from my Cinderella dress.  I told him it was there and he was not happy.  He washed it off but I told him it was still there. He tried to get it off again.  But I still told him, “That glitter is still there Colin.”  He was mad.  He doesn’t like girl things.
8.     There was a trashcan that we had to put our 3-D glasses in after the Muppet show.  It wasn’t really a trashcan but it looked like a trashcan.  It was really tall.

9.     We had to wear wristbands and it had my name on it.  I got in the park all by myself!
10.  At Monsters Inc. they told a joke.  Want to hear it?  “Knock, knock.   Who’s there?  Orange.  Orange who?  Orange you glad I didn’t say that guy?”

Ellie, each day since we’ve been back you have come up with one or two more Disney memories.  Unlike mine, yours are much more simplistic and a lot cuter.   I couldn’t stop laughing after hearing about the conversation you had with your parents.  I could actually picture in my mind everything you were saying!  Thank you El for giving your Poppy and me a priceless memory… one we shall treasure forever.

I guess the lesson I really learned here was that even though yours and my Top 10 List wasn’t quite the same, we are on the same page when it comes to Disney in general.  You see, when we were at Hollywood Studios there was a water fountain in front of the Muppet Show.  Ellie, you asked me for a penny to throw and I gladly fished one out of my pocketbook and handed to you.  Without encouragement you turned around with your tiny fist clenched tightly over the penny and closed your eyes.  After about 30 seconds, you turned back around and threw the penny into the fountain.  When I asked you what you wished for you responded with, “I wish to come back to Disney again.”  Ellie-bean I couldn’t agree with you more as it truly is one of the happiest places on earth!  And next time we will take Will along with your Mommy, Daddy, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy!

Love you princess!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life Lesson Month of October: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Love Bug,

Having Will here these past few weeks made me reflect on when you were a baby.  I so wanted to treasure every second with you, as I knew each moment would go by too fast.  That’s how our blogs started Ellie.  I sat down one night when your Dad was out of the country on business and I wrote you a letter.  It wasn’t a long letter but it detailed my wishes, hopes, and dreams for you.  In fact, I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in it because I purposely didn’t save it on the computer.  I printed it, sealed it in an envelope, labeled it with a date to open twenty years in the future, and put it in your jewelry box for safekeeping.  And that made me think that one letter probably wouldn’t suffice so your Mimi and I put our heads together.  And hence the birth of this blog as our gift to you was born.

Life Lessons Learned #33: Document moments that you want to savor.

I have a funny feeling that you and Will are going to be opposites.  The first two weeks with you Ellie were so telling of your future personality… I must preface by saying that I also tried to breastfeed you and my milk never fully came in so that might have been some of the problem.  For those first days at home, you never slept.  You constantly had a grumpy face on (that your Mimi affectionately called your Walter face after Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquist doll).  You were about 8 weeks old when you first smiled and even now, you really make people work to see that gorgeous grin of yours, my serious girl.  Your beautiful eyes were open from the instant you entered the world and rarely shut since.

As for Will, he sleeps and eats.  Right after he eats, he sleeps.  You don’t get to see his eyes too often yet as they are always closed.  Your Dad and I got more sleep in the first night with him than all four nights in the hospital with you combined.  And now that we are home, he gets up only twice a night to eat and dozes right after.  Your Dad had a week of paternity leave and it was very much like a staycation as we were all so well rested!  Will has been smiling and giggling in these first few weeks.  He was even cooing since his birth and hasn’t stopped “talking” since.  I don’t think we have heard him cry aside for asking for food.  His demeanor is so calm and mellow.  In fact, the running joke in the family has been, “Where’s Will?” as he is often so quiet that when one of us puts him down in his crib, swing, or bassinette, the other doesn’t know where to look first!    

Now, I’m not saying that one experience is better than the other.  Ellie, I think both are all about bonding in different ways and learning how to be a good parent in varying circumstances.  With you Ellie, I could tell that you would wear your emotions on your sleeve, you would be independent, strong, and hot-headed, and you wouldn’t please people for their own sake.  As for Will, I think he is going to be my easy-going, friendly, relaxed, and even-tempered child.  I think the both of you will balance each other out very well and I am so blessed to have a taste of both of your extremes!

Even your Mimi made a comment about how different I am with Will than I was with you- that I rarely rock him when I hold him whereas with you, I bounced you constantly to try to pacify you.  You have always had high expectations my dear girl!

Although we are keeping our blog for you, I do think I need to write Will a letter just as I did for you initially.  So here’s what I want him to know.

My Love, My Will,

I never imagined that I would get a chance to have another son.  When we found out that you were a boy at our 20-week gestational appointment, I couldn’t stop crying happy tears.  I would have been grateful for any healthy child but to have a chance with a little boy again was beyond imaginable.  When Kyle died, I not only grieved for the son that I lost but also for the memories that I would never get to have with him, like dancing to the mother-son song at his wedding or cheering him on at baseball games.  Now Will, I promise that I will never put my dreams of Kyle on you but know that because of Kyle, I will cherish each moment I have with you.  And those memories I never got to have with Kyle may look completely different with you (perhaps you won’t get married or you will be into theater instead of sports), but I will appreciate, treasure, and support you (as long as you try your best and you are kind-hearted).

Just as with Ellie, I want you find happiness and love.  I want you to have compassion and empathy. I want you to have a relationship with God and believe in the power of prayer- faith is a gift.  I want you to be grateful and appreciative for what you have.  Be sure to take responsibility for all of your actions and know when to say I’m sorry.  In the same breath, learn how to forgive- no one is perfect so leave the judging to a higher power.  I want you to understand that you can be the catalyst for change, you can be a leader, and you can make the world a better place.  Believe in yourself, rely on your instincts, and trust your intuition.  Be an active member in society and our family.  Don’t underestimate the importance of education and hard work.  Please understand that contentment does not have to come at someone else’s expense.         
Now as you are lying in my lap at almost three weeks old (and smiling and giggling in your sleep), I am saying aloud as I type, “You are so very loved.”  You are one-of-a-kind, so special, and I feel blessed that you, your brother, and your sister were given to me.

I love you Will-Will,

Ellie, life goes by too fast so be sure you take the time to note and remember those moments that you make you laugh and love not only for yourself but for your posterity. 

Love you Bean,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Life Lesson Month of October: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hello my adorable “chit-chat girlfriend!”

(You will understand the salutation I chose by a certain event that happened this past weekend while watching you and of course it’s one that I can’t resist writing about!) But first let me explain what prompted this blog.

Ellie, about a month ago while your Dad was away on a business trip, your Mommy and you came over for a Saturday night sleepover.  It was a weekend filled with lots of giggles, and oodles of activities.  But the very best part of that Saturday was actually bedtime.  We conned Poppy into sleeping in Ryan’s old bedroom so that us three girls could have the big king bed.  

As we settled in under the covers Poppy plugged in your Disney Princess nightlight for us and turned off the overhead light.  I don’t think he wanted to be alone because he started making hand-puppet shadows in the nightlight’s circle and that prompted you to get out of bed and hang out with Poppy for a while trying your own hand at finger animals!  Anyway, once we got you back in bed and situated in the middle, we had to play the Brain-Game, also known as 20 Questions, but with a 3 year old it is more like 3 or 4 Questions Max!  Here was your choice question… Ellie: What is stinky?  It’s a skunk.  Mimi: Mmmmm… I don’t know.  Can you give me another hint?  Ellie:  Yes.  It’s black and white.  Mimi:  Is it an animal?  Ellie:  Yes. It’s a skunk.  Mimi: Mmmmmm… I think I know.  Ellie: What is it?  Mimi:  Is it a a a skunk?  Ellie: YES!!!!!!!  It IS a skunk!”  You said with great satisfaction.  See, even with your ‘tell-all’ answer, the 3rd round is the perfect time to guess correctly!  Ellie, sometimes you are just too funny!  Well, eventually you tired of that game, so we had to play the Star-Light Star-Bright Game where we get to wish for something special, something silly, or something that doesn’t make any sense, just as long as it prolongs the inevitable… going to sleep.  When your Mommy and I put an end to that game you reminded us that we had to say our prayers.  So as we began to recite the Hail Mary, you grabbed your mommy’s hand and also mine.  After finishing, you looked at each of us and with a smile and made a very adult and thought provoking statement.  You said, “Look Mommy.  Look Mimi.  When we hold hands together we are connected.”  And that we are Ellie.  Yes indeed.

Life Lessons Learned #32:  A forever connection starts with a simple touch.

Ellie, you will find this blog entry quite lengthy, but it is because I want to share some of the special moments or rather the connection that comes so easily to you and I.  So I will start by telling you about the weekend your baby brother Will was born.  Poppy and I had the honor of watching you for the few days your Mommy and Daddy stayed at the hospital.  And what a wonderful experience it was.  We could have titled the weekend Ellie Rules, because with Poppy and me you are the Princess and we are your Royal Subjects always at your beck-n-call!  Before taking you to the hospital where your Daddy excitedly scooped you up into his arms anxious to have you meet your little brother, I made sure you had a gift for him because Will made sure to have a gift for you!  From what I have heard, you were quite pleased with the even-exchange… Will getting a talking huggable dog and you receiving a life-like baby Will!  This new baby of yours came back to my house where we played pretend house until Ryan and Sammy came over that evening.  Now Ellie, I know you took an immediate liking to your new-baby brother, but the life-like Will doll did not get quite that same attention.  While playing house, your baby Will whom you said was just born, spent numerous times in “Time-Out.”  Apparently he was not listening to you, he was not taking his bottle when you fed him and he was somehow doing things he wasn’t suppose to be doing (not exactly sure what that could be since he is made of plastic!  Poor little guy!).  Thankfully Sammy and Ryan stopped by and distracted you with a surprise.   Sammy gave you an awesome present for being a new Big Sister… stickers, jump-rope, paddleball, catch a fish, a growing sponge seahorse and the biggest hit of all, Silly String which you excitedly sprayed at us 4 adults!  

The pretend Will came outside to play with all of us too but was dropped like a football more times than not (I think we may have to work a bit more on compassion with your dolls, as your connection with them isn’t always consistent)!  Anyway, later that evening after your Aunt and Uncle departed, we turned our living room into a massive tent, got out the sleeping bags, some popcorn and Doritos and turned off all the overhead lights so that the flashlights were much more effective.  Poppy gave up on us and went to bed while we told each other stories and giggled for a few hours. Thankfully by 11:00 pm you opted to sleep in a real bed (and my back is forever grateful to you El!).  And the part I treasure most is when you held my hand right before you fell soundly asleep.  Saturday was a fun day as well.  We started the morning off by visiting your Mommy, Daddy, and Will at the hospital.  Surprisingly you wanted to stay for quite sometime and of course we let you.  Your comfort level was in a good place Ellie, especially with your Mommy.  And you thought you were pretty grown up when you had the honor of feeding Will!  El, you are going to be an amazing Big Sister… Will is going to love you so!  But back to the days events.  Around 11:30 am you finally decided that we could go to the Penny Carnival that was taking place at the library in Centre Hall.  As an adult, my take on it was ‘corny but cute.’  Your take on it was ‘Jackpot!’  We stayed for quite awhile Ellie while you played all the outdoor 1cent games.   And with every game’s win, came a special prize that excited you more than the one before!  It was the perfect place to take a young child!  From there we went to McDonald’s where you insisted that we sit at the high-top table with pink spinning stools.  After opening up both yours and my Happy Meals so that we could dig into some yummy hamburgers and apple slices, you stopped me.  You said with your hands animating dramatic expression, “Mimi let’s chit-chat for awhile.”  I blinked and said, “Chit-chat?”  You answered, “Yes.  I’ll tell you about my friend Cassidy.”  Ellie I had to stifle a giggle because I swear you sounded like a young teenager.  So I said, “Ok.  What’s up with Cassidy?”  You responded, “Welllllll, she said she was going to follow us.  And we told her she couldn’t follow us, but she followed us anyway.”  I answered with, “ Who’s us?”  Which you quickly responded, “Kalena and me.” So I asked what I thought was an intelligent question, “Where were you all going?”  And with an exasperated look you threw your hands up and flipped your wrists while answering, “Nowhere!  She just wouldn’t listen!  And I told her!”  I responded with a shake of my head and a puckered face, “Wellllll, that was some nerve.  You agreed with a strong and somewhat frustrated, “Yes!”  So I gingerly continued with, “I hope everyone was still nice to her.”  You then softened a bit and finished with, “Yes. We were nice.”  And then you proceeded to eat your Happy Meal!  Ellie, I was so glad we had the chance to “chit-chat” and clear up the Cassidy confusion!   Because finally we were able to move on to matters much more important…  like playing with our Happy Meal Wizard of Oz prize figurines (and just so you know, it is moments like these that are priceless to me)!  After leaving McDonald’s we swung by Gymboree because I wanted to get you some new pants, which was prompted by a meeting of the minds, that you and I had earlier that morning.  You insisted that your Mommy said you could wear shorts even though it was probably 50 degrees outside.  I told you that I didn’t think so and no you were not wearing shorts because it is no longer summertime.  Let me just say El, you are one very strong-minded individual but since I have 50 plus years on you…. I won.  Well… when I look at it now, I think you actually won because you walked out of that store with a pair of low-heeled red-paten leather Dorothy shoes, frilly ivory socks and a blue ‘twirl’ dress (which was not on my original purchasing list!)  

From there we went back to the hospital to visit with your Mommy as she and Will were by themselves for two hours.  It was then that your comfort level went completely back to normal as you snuggled up to your Mom on her bed, you got and gave her numerous hugs and you interacted with Will in such a loving and caring way. 

When you were ready to leave we traveled back to my house where we ate dinner and then played something new.  Nail Salon!  My friend and your Mommy’s boss, Susan, gave you a package kit with 5 miniature nail polishes for being a new “Big Sister.”  So you pretended to be Tina the Nail Lady and decided that my name was to be Miss Kim.  I took my socks off to get ready for my pedicure but you quickly informed me that you had to paint your own toenails first and I had to just wait (hmmmmm, I am thinking that there will probably be a ‘Business 101’ class somewhere in your future Ellie!  After all, what kind of salon stays in business with that kind of service???!!!).  Yes, I waited.  After a good thirty minutes, it was finally my turn. You started off with painting my toenails and my left hand an array of colors.  They reminded me of a rainbow.  As I held out my right hand for you to paint next, the look on your face told me that there was going to be a change in plans (you obviously were done playing this game and I had to beg you to finish).  I was relieved to see you pick up the red nail polish bottle and paint my pinky, but then I was shocked when you continued on to my ring finger.  I tried to stop you by asking for green instead but you forcefully stated a very strong “NO, you get red and that is all!”  So my middle finger, my forefinger and lastly, my thumb all ended up red.  You then charged me $4.00 and said you quit!  Oh to be 3!   

Now I shall jump to Sunday.  Since your Dad was bringing your Mommy and Will home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon, they wanted you home with them too.  So we only had a few hours left of playing time before we needed to return you to your family.  Ellie, the one thing you absolutely love to do is go down into our basement where I have your craft area set up.  I thought it would be fun to make a turkey hat and you agreed.  But never in a million years did I think the turkey would be as unique as it ended up.  Ellie, you were insistent that the turkey had to have boogers, and blue ones at that so it was the first part of its face that you created.  You then put its eyes where its mouth should have been.  Once the bird was completed, I tried it on your head.  Well, that didn’t last very long.  Not liking the way it felt, you whipped it off and said that you were going to give it to your Mom instead (so we both agreed that it would be a Great Welcome Home Mom present!). 

Well El, our fun weekend adventure had to come to an end eventually.  And for me, it ended in the most heartwarming way.  After driving to your home across town and guiding you out of the car-seat you took my hand in yours and we walked to your front door.  As I looked down at your hand in mine I realized that a ‘simple touch’ goes much deeper.  For you my dear Ellie-bean have not only touched my heart but my soul too.  Yes, Ellie, you are wise beyond your years.  A connection can be forever if you never let go.

Love you girlfriend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life Lessons Month of October: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Big Sister,

Your brother Will was born at 7:44am on Friday, September 27 (weighing 7lbs, 3 oz and measuring 20.5in).  His birth was filled with much anticipation and anxiety (just as yours was as we have always been so nervous after losing your brother Kyle).  The hospital team was fantastic and Will was delivered with 80’s music in the background while I was holding onto your Dad’s hand.  Will had a full head of black hair (which I predicted with all of my acid reflux these past few months) and the loudest cry (which was the best sound ever).  After a quick clean-up, he was brought right over to me for skin-to-skin time as I was stitched up and that was heaven.  I said with you and Kyle, “I wonder what he/she looks like?”  It was a silly question to ask for all three of my children.  Just as with you and Kyle, when Will was born and brought over to me, it was like I knew him my whole life.  I knew all of my children and felt an instant connection.

Your Dad has been amazing- not only giving me reassurance to calm my nerves prior to delivery but in the days after as my body healed.  He became Mr. Mom and took care of all the household chores and became my nurse.  With all of my children, your Dad never leaves my side in the hospital.  He changes diapers, does the night feedings, and he is hands down the world’s best swaddler!  He truly gives of himself to his children and I. 

But really, what a week this has been for you… and you handled all of the changes so gracefully, maturely, and happily. 

Life Lessons Learned #31: Acceptance and love defy age.

The night before Will was born, we asked your Mimi and Poppy to pick you up for a sleepover at their house, as my c-section was scheduled very early last Friday.  They dropped you off at school to keep you in routine and for them to have a chance to make sure everything with the baby and I were ok.  Once I got out of recovery, they picked you up and brought you to the hospital to meet your new baby brother.

That first visit was a little hard for you (and me too I might add).  When you got into the room and saw me, you were very stand-offish… and I would have been the same way.  After having major abdominal surgery, I definitely wasn’t at my best and certainly couldn’t greet you in the way I wish I could have.  I had tubes and wires all over and leg compressors that looked and sounded really scary.  You kept your distance but were brave enough to stay for forty-five minutes.  We gave you your own newborn boy baby doll, that you also called Will and you mimicked everything we did with our real Will on your Will (feeding him, burping him).  But I have to say you were a bit less gentle with your Will (half the time, you forgot he was your baby and he was dangling from your hand upside down). 

Day 2 was a lot better.  To start, I was disconnected from all machines and I was showered so I looked and felt much better.  You came in for a morning visit and an afternoon visit that day and by the end, you were hugging me good-bye and felt much more comfortable.  In fact, you pinched your finger in the door on your way out and you only wanted me.  When I came to you (very slowly I might add), you said through tears, “I know you can’t pick me up but can you just give me a big hug?”  I didn’t want to let you go.  Your visits on this day were a lot more hands on with Will too.  You wanted to feed him and hold him yourself… and you were so gentle and sweet with him.  Ellie, Will is so blessed to have you as a big sister.

I was discharged on the third day, so your Mimi and Poppy dropped you off in the afternoon, which gave your Dad and I time to unpack and get organized beforehand.  You came in with so much more luggage than I sent you off with… I could tell you must have been super spoiled with your weekend away (and I will let Mimi tell you all about that in your next letter).  But know that I appreciated that you helped your Mimi and Poppy grocery shop and stock our refrigerator and cabinets for when we got home.  And I love that your Mimi got us balloons that you two hung on our mailbox to celebrate Will’s arrival.

The first night as a family of four in our home was by far the best ever.  I’m still in awe as I look at you and Will, both of my beautiful, healthy children.  Before we started your bedtime routine, you asked if you could read a story to Will.  You went upstairs on your own, picked one out, stood next to his crib and recited a beautiful story (even showing him the pictures).

The next morning, while I showered, I put Will in his vibrating chair and when I came out, you were laying next to him with your blanket and pillow watching him.  You told me that you were having a sleepover!

But the most endearing moment you had with Will is when he was starting to fuss last night while on my bed (I was changing into my pj’s and you were sitting next to him as I dressed).  You went over to my nightstand and got the piece of Kyle’s blanket that I saved.  You put it to Will’s heart and then his cheek.  You said, “Mommy tells me that this makes everything all better.”  Needless to say, I couldn’t stop crying but you, Ellie, knew immediately that my tears were happy tears (you know about Kyle’s blanket because you saw it a few weeks ago and asked me about it.  You wanted to play with it but I said it couldn’t leave my bedroom.  But I also added that at anytime when you are sad you can come in and put it to your heart or cheek for Kyle to give you strength.  More often than not, you use it to comfort yourself when I brush your hair!).

Since being home, you have been the biggest help to me- getting me bottles, diapers, clothes.  And you know that I have my limits with what I can do so you never ask me to come back upstairs after I put you to bed.  You are so compassionate Ellie.  With me, you ask if I need to hold your hand as I stand up from a chair (you can see the pain on my face I guess) or you offer your help when I am walking up the stairs.  You show such tenderness and kindness when you not only kiss your brother but you kiss my shirt where my “boo-boo” is.  Yes, Love really does make everything all better.

At three and a half Ellie, you have embraced Will just like your Dad and I did.  You have become his other mother and his protector.
I love you my sweetest angel,