Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The upside and downside of a 6 year age difference...

To the random passer-byer, the checkout lady at the grocery store, the sales woman at Justice, the waiter at Red Lobster or the random stranger in Walmart, we have 2 kids, they are girls and they are 6 years apart.  Having two kids 6 years apart has it's challenges that I do think would be so different if Matthew was alive and running around like the active 4 year old I know he would have been.

Kaitlyn being 6 years older than Samantha is awesome for so much.  She is incredibly helpful, can play with her, entertain her, I can trust her to sit with her while I get the mail or throw clothes in the washer.  She can put socks on her, get a hair brush and really, Kaitlyn can just about get herself ready for the day every day.  And while they are obviously going to like way different things, Kaitlyn is perfectly satisfied to play baby with toys with her.

When Kaitlyn was younger, I loved when all the kids went back to school and we could go to a nearly empty zoo, park, mall, fairytale town and so on.  I hate going on weekends and the summer.  It's hot.  It's crowded.  People are rude and you have to almost battle for your teeny little kid to have a turn.

I want to take Samantha to the zoo, but I don't want to take her on the weekend.  And I feel bad that Kaitlyn will be at school and miss out on something she loves.

While Kaitlyn being at school ensures lots of 1 on 1 time with Samantha, it's also different, she won't see San Francisco on a random weekday when traffic is light, she probably won't go to the zoo or fairytale town as much, and our by our-self time will end at 2:30 with our wait in the pick up line.  But, she'll grow up with one entertaining and loving big sister.

I am not a passive person.

There, I admitted it.  But, it's true, I'm not.  I'm just not a stand back and let the world happen, while I just stand there and whistle a little tune to pass the time kinda lady.  There are times I wish I was, life would be simpler and I'd hopefully be a better whistler.  Instead, I'm passionate, opinionated, vocal and not afraid to get to the bottom of things.  Sometimes that is observed as creating drama or being dramatic.  But, I disagree.  (Shocker I know)  I define drama as the overreaction to something.  Or the desire to create conflict for funsies.

I love differing opinions.  I strongly believe that you can be best friends with someone who has a completely different viewpoint from you, even though I am incredibly conservative, I think it's important to have friends who are also liberal.  I think this is how we learn and how we grow as people.  We learn things by the experiences we experience, hear about and talk about.  I have learned that some of my view points were not realistic by talking to people who have different thoughts than I do and why they do and it made sense.  I think one of the huge differences between having a difference of opinion and just being dramatic is your ability to debate just the topic and not make personal attacked against the one holding the opinion.

I am also not shy at getting to the bottom of things.  If I have been told something second hand, before I assume anything about it, I'm always going to ask.  Of course, if it's over something trivial, it's unlikely I'll waste my time, but I would rather know the truth and go from there then make assumptions and fester over something that wasn't historically accurate.  If there is something being discussed that offends me (and really, there is only one topic that does), I will not hesitate to ask you to stop.  You obviously have the option of not, and I obviously have the option of calling it a day if the request isn't honored, but that's just how life is.

As a constant thinker, I was beginning to think maybe I should just train myself to be the whistler in the corner.  Maybe I had life all wrong and that was the key to everlasting happiness.  Then, I read a blog.  I read Etiquette Hell a couple of times a week.  I love it.  I love the stories, I love the advice given and I especially love the different opinions in the comments, it is a really good way to see so many different sides of the same story.  Yesterday's post was entitled When Defamed By Family and is basically the story of a girl who didn't attend the wedding of her cousin after a falling out and then was ostracized by that side of the family.  Years later she found out that it was rumored she had said some unfavorable things about the bride at the wedding.  The wedding she didn't attend.  She cleared it up with much of the family but questioned whether she should ask the mother of the bride why she would begin such an awful rumor.  The blogger gave her advice (which basically was, she knows her best, is the outcome worth what will be asked?) and also gave another amazing piece of advice.

 One way to insulate oneself from becoming the family pariah based on gossip is to have an impeccable character.   If one is known for being excruciatingly honest, this works in one’s favor to cast doubt in the minds of those who hear slander.  Sometimes it takes years to achieve that level of perceived character but since family relationships last for decades, it is well worth the investment.

What amazing advice, and how true it is!  I can admit that I have been bitten by the angry bug and voiced my opinion in an unsavory manner more than once, but I have invested the last couple of years in doing my best not to, but I'm going to work a lot harder at it.  I also believe that your actions are the loudest voice that you have.  Nothing you can ever say will be louder than your actions.

Another belief I hold true is that birds of a feather really do flock together.  Recently, this was used against me in a way that I think was supposed to be offensive, obviously said by someone who wanted to be mean and hurtful.  But, I was being thrown into a flock of 2 amazing mothers who are honest, dependable, fun and actually put forth the effort they commit to.  Which led to me resuming my role as Troop Leader for Girl Scouts, but that's a different story for a different day...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Before I know it...

The other night, Kaitlyn had a sleep over at her Nana and Papa's house.  It was a last hooray to summer and a time for her to have a slumber party with her cousin.  It was the night before the night before the first day of summer.  After the slumber party, the girls came to our house for swimming.  They swam hard and they must have played hard the night before, because our little Kaitlyn, who never naps, sat in her little recliner in her playroom to watch some TV, and without so much as reclining the chair or letting 5 minutes pass from the time her cousin left, was fast asleep.  I figured it was a cat nap, but after an hour, I decided to move her to our bed.

I rarely pick Kaitlyn up anymore.  She's at nearly 51 lbs, and that's a lot.  It hurts my back to pick her up and she is almost 7...  I couldn't put her in her bed, she has a loft bunk bed, and I didn't want to risk carrying her on the ladder.  And she slept.  As she slept, I realized, soon she'll be too big for me to even try to pick her up.  One day I'm going to blink and she's going to be a teenager, instead of taking a nap when she's too exhausted, she's just going to be grumpy and slam the door to her bedroom.  She is just getting so big so fast.

That night, I let Samantha fall asleep in my arms before bed.  Yes, I know it isn't great for teaching her how to sleep on her own, but it's ok.  I held her tubby thighs and chipmunk cheeks in my arms and realized that it's going by all too fast.  One day, I'm going to blink and this little angel is going to be a 2nd grader.

Time goes by so fast, and life is so short.  Sometimes, these reminders come to us at times we really need to remember what's important in life and to stop more often and spend time cuddling and carrying instead of on things that don't really matter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our 9 month old Princess

Can you believe 75% of her first year is already behind us?  I can't.  I have no idea where it went!  It's so hard to believe that our itty, bitty, cuddly baby isn't so itty or bitty anymore, and only cuddles on her terms.

Isn't she gorgeous though?

This past month Samantha has grown leaps and bounds!  She is crawling.  She is climbing onto her knees.  She is grabbing onto furniture with the hopes that she will magically stand on it :)  She has sprouted a tooth with another right behind it!  She claps, gives kisses and love, plays games, LOVES playing catch with daddy and his baseball, and loves to throw her head back on you as hard as she can for some reason.  She loves the dogs, loves to eat and loves to drink water.

Samantha had her 9 month appointment yesterday.  On her actual 9 month birthday, sorry I didn't post our update yesterday.  I didn't forget, I swear, but the Etsy store is doing awesome, we had friends over to swim, we had dinner at the in-laws and we stayed busy from the time we woke up until we went to bed.

Anywho, her appointment went well.  She is weighing in at 19 lbs and 13 oz.  This places her at the 75% mark.  And is exactly 12 lbs above what she was born at, so nearly triple her birth weight!  Way to go chunk-a-munk!  Her length is 28.5 " which is 80% and awesome.  She's starting to thin out a bit in those thighs lol.  And her head is 45 cm, which is the exact same as Kaitlyn, at 15 months!  Her head is 80% for her age.

We are going to take her to see an ENT about her tongue.  It is similar to how Kaitlyn's was prior to being clipped, and we want to snip it in the bud if necessary earlier than later.  If we can avoid speech therapy, that would be awesome!

She eats like CRAZY!  I love Baby-Led weaning.  Some of Samantha's favorite foods are fried rice, avocado, peas, chicken and just about anything she can get her hands on.  She is also getting about 30 oz of formula a day.  I am completely out of milk, and doing ok with it.  I really like the similac spit up ready-feed formula.  She likes the taste, I don't mind the smell, and she doesn't spit up as much with it.  It's just hard when we're on the go to take it with us.  So, we use powdered Similac formula when we're out and it doesn't work as great to stay down with her.  So, I need to work on a new plan for feeding when out and about.  She is also getting about 4 bottles a day, so starting today, one feeding a day goes into a sippy cup instead of bottle.  Next month we'll take out another one and so on and so forth until we're done with the bottle, which should be around 12 months old.

Sleeping is going AWESOME as well!  We moved her into her crib nearly 2 weeks ago.  We had some rough times the first couple nights, falling asleep, but she only woke up once through the night and went to sleep easily.  Without food.  Then, we had a couple of nights where there was a ton of crying through the night, but she sprouted a tooth.  Now, we're doing good.  Most of the time she goes down around 9 and is up about 7:45 or so.  And still takes 3- 1 hour naps a day.  There have been a couple nights where she got up at 5:30 and I just brought her to bed with me to cuddle for a couple hours.

Our goals right now are to help her get standing on her own.  It's hard to believe that Kaitlyn was only 3 weeks older when she started walking!  I'm not quite ready for that yet though!

Tomorrow Kaitlyn goes back to school and on Monday we head to Vegas for the week!  Yay!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Prince

4 years ago today, the contractions wouldn't stop.  The pain was intense.  I could feel the knife through my skin. I waited, feeling as though I was holding my breath, just waiting.  I could feel the tugs, the pulls, the hands trying to "fish" him out.  And finally, he was out, with 2 fingers in his mouth like a fish on a fisherman's hook.  He cried. To this day, one of the most beautiful sounds I'd ever heard.  It was his cry.  It wasn't the loudest, but it didn't need to be.  It was his.

I was stitched up while daddy went to be with him as they got him set up in the NICU.  He needed help.  It was still 7 weeks before he was due, he couldn't breath on his own, he needed an IV to eat, he needed bilirubim lights to treat his jaundice, he needed medication, he had IVs in and 5 days passed before I was able to hold him, but it was the sweetest moment a mother could ask for.  He was my baby and I wanted to memorize everything about him.

He was beautiful.

August 6, 2007 at 4:29 AM, a little boy cried his way into the world, in such a rush daddy barely had time to put his shoes on.

Over the next 27 days, he got bigger, stronger and even more handsome.  He came home with us.  He embedded himself into our family.  He was loved beyond measure.  Quietly, in the wee hours of the morning, he left us.  Everyday he continues to be a part of our family, continues to be loved, continues to be missed.

Today is Matthew's 4th birthday.  While I didn't get the joy of picking him out the perfect present, watching his face when he opened it, planning a party that he loved, or watching him run wild, our family was surrounded by family and friends who are appreciated more than words could ever describe.  We are forever grateful for their love and support.

In Matthew's honor, we released balloons, enjoyed cupcakes and spent a little bit of time together.

Thank you to all those who spent a part of their day with us and to all those that made Matthew a part of their day.  You cannot understand how much that means to us.  We are incredibly blessed and lucky to have such an amazing support system.

Happy Birthday our sweet little prince.

Monday, August 1, 2011

4 years ago

I sat in a hospital bed, used to the routine, grateful we had passed our goal of 32 weeks and looking ahead to our next goal of 34 weeks.  I could feel a little prince kicking me from the inside and I wondered how big he would be, wondering if he would cry, wondering how delivery would go.

By August 1 of 2007, I was 59 days into my hospital stay, I had spent my 25th birthday in the hospital, the birthdays of family and friends, father's day, a season of Sopranos and had settled into my hospital routine.  I had met with doctors, had ultrasounds, met the NICU team, met the anesthesiologists, had my daily 15 min wheelchair rides, had my daily 5 minute showers, lost any hint of a tan, and was less than a week away from my wedding anniversary.  Dusty had already spent 59 days running between me and Kaitlyn and work and sleeping on a fold out bed every night.  Kaitlyn lived between grandparents and had short visits with me everyday.  I memorized everything the cafeteria had to offer and all the extensions in the hospital.  I was thankful for the internet.  I missed my life.  But, I wanted that little boy more than he could ever know or dream of.

Little did I know that only 5 days later he would be born.  He would cry.  He would be absolutely beautiful.  He would come home 27 days after that.  He would be ours.  He would be loved.  He would have the strongest cry.  We would have our son.  He would be in our arms.  He would be spoiled.  He would be held as much as he wanted.  He would have a doting big sister.  He would be amazing.  He would have dark brown hair and eyes that just didn't know what color they wanted to be yet.

I would do it all over again for just one more day with him.  Just one more chance to kiss his super soft cheeks, to nuzzle him into my chest, to whisper to him how much we love him, to hear his cry, to see him want to smile, to change his teeny tiny diaper, anything in the world for just one more chance to have a moment with him.

This Saturday, Matthew turns 4.  And we will celebrate his life and the miracle that he was with a balloon release.  We will be surrounded by loved ones as balloons soar through the sky.

We miss you so much little one.