Friday, June 17, 2011

Matthew's birthday

Normally, I love summer.  I love everything about it, the water, the shorts and flip flops, the tank tops, the fun that happens, the late warm nights, making memories, camping, and just all of it.

Now, summer is just different.  I still love it, but I think back to now 3 years ago and how I spent my summer fighting for the life and well being of a little boy that I love and miss so much.  The summer I never got a tan, the summer I watched the fireworks from a tiny window in a plain hospital room, the summer I didn't take our little girl to the zoo, the summer where everyday was a gift and every sacrifice was so worth it when I heard that little man cry for the first time.

The summer where we spent 26 days making multiple daily trips to the NICU with the hopes of being able to hold him for just a moment, maybe even help feed him if it were Wednesday, we might get to help with his bath.  It was a time of such hope and such gratitude, just so happy that he was here, he was alive, he was with us.  It should have been the start of so much, you never could have convinced me that 70 days later that would all come crashing down.

August 6.  The day before our wedding anniversary.  Typically the week or two before school is back in session.  On this day we celebrate Matthew's birthday.  Instead of the fun of watching little ones run and play, a birthday boy ripping open his presents and commenting on how much he'd grown, we send him balloons and messages.  The day is bittersweet, a day of celebrating the life he had and a day of missing him more than words can express.

In the years past, I've let Kaitlyn pick out what the theme of Matthew's birthday celebration would be.  This year, I think I'm going to stick with just doing colors.  It has been too hard emotionally to go to birthday parties of little boys who do the same theme, it is just draining.  And since I can't call dibs on themes because that would just be crazy and illogical, I can make the choice to just stick to colors.  I really liked doing them blue and white before.  I like the baby blue to represent that he was our baby boy and I like the white to represent innocence.

This year, Matthew would have been 4 years old.  I bet he would have loved San Antonio, I bet he would stand with Kaitlyn in awe of the dolphins at Discovery Kingdom, I bet he would be just as antsy in the backseat driving across the country :P  He sure is missed.

I am also thinking of doing the balloon release this year at our house instead of the cemetery.  I guess I just don't feel as though it is necessary to have it there anymore, I think I'm to the point where I'm really starting to separate his physical body and resting place from his place in our hearts, in our lives and with us always.  And I like the idea of incorporating adding flowers and decor to his memorial garden at home as part of the celebrating. I haven't decided yet.  But, it's so emotional at that time, who knows how I'll feel that month.  So, I'll decide next week and let everyone know :)  And as always, anyone that wants to join us is welcome too, if you are too far and what to participate, send me an email and I'll be happy to send you balloons.  You can even send me the pictures, I love to see them :)

It's so hard to believe we're nearly 4 years into this journey of grief and loss.  Sometimes it feels like it was just ysterday and sometimes it feels like a lifetime has passed...


Today, I had a talk with Kaitlyn about negativity.  It wasn't an out of the blue conversation started to kill the time, it was more of a "I cannot stand to hear you whine about another thing in the next 5 minutes" conversation built out of necessity.

Kaitlyn is normally a pretty happy go lucky, grateful for anything kinda kid, but yesterday and today has been whine, whine, whine and I just don't like that attitude.

I'm sure that at least some of it is because of hotel after hotel trying to make it back home to her toys, pool, playground, TV, comfy bed and so on and so forth.  And normally, I have patience for it, accept it and move on with it.  But, I'm also missing all of the above, extra space, sleeping past 5:30 or so, home cooked food, living out of my closet and stuff like that and the whining and negativity of it all was driving me insane.

So we talked.  We talked about how it really isn't that big of a deal if you have to be patient for 20 minutes while Daddy looks in a store, and it really isn't worth whining about if your pb&j at the restaurant is touching your fries.  And it sounds really ungrateful if you have just been through 3 beautiful states and done as much as she has in 2 weeks to really complain that I got you a regular water instead of a berry water.  And the conversation got me thinking.

I try really hard to not be judgmental, and I like to think that the majority of the time I'm pretty confident that the majority of the time I succeed.  It doesn't mean that I'm even close to perfect or that I don't have to constantly stop myself from it, but at least I try.  I'm also a big fan of being positive.  I do believe that in life we are responsible for our own actions.  I heard someone say something the other day and I wish I could remember where so I could give it proper credit: "You can control the choices you make in life, you cannot control the consequences" and I completely believe this.  I do believe that we are responsible for not only our own happiness but also for how we react to things in our life.

No matter how devastating a part of your life is, you chose how you live your life after.  You're also responsible for making the choice to live that life.

I think that a way a person puts themselves out there is a huge depiction of one's character.  I personally prefer to associate myself with other positive people, people who are uplifting and supportive, positive and free of drama.

As time goes on, I think I find myself really turning away from the drama, the bashing and most of all the negativity.  Life is so short, why waste your time on things that don't matter?  Or waste your time wallowing in self pity?  Or worse yet, self destruction?

Life is short and nothing is promised, be sure to live every day to the fullest and be proud of the life you live and the character you display :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

7 months old

Yes, I know I'm posting this a bit late, but we're still in San Antonio and the internet is so wonky lol.

Samantha is 7 months old now!  I can't tell you what she weighs or how long she is because I'm not near a scale or a measuring tape, but my back says at least 19 lbs and she has to be at least 27" long based on the ultra scientific forearm measuring tool.

She is a happy baby.  She loves everyone and smiles for just able all she comes into contact with.  She is awesome at sitting now, and when she wants to lay down now to roll around or whatever, she rocks herself harder and harder until she is on her back. She has her own method of crawling.  Dusty said "Oh great, she's going to be a weird crawler" as she lies on her back and inches her away across the room by putting her feet flat on the floor and uses them to push back.

She still says mostly dada, but a couple times I've caught her saying mama.  She is a total ham and if I bring out the camera it's big ol grin times!  She plays the cutest "night night" game where she hides her face like she's sleeping and when you say "good morning" she pops it up with a huge smile.  I need to get video of it.  She also loves to hide her face to play peek a boo.

Cloth diapering is going great. We're using disposable while on vacation and I swear it just makes me really, really miss my cloth.  Nearly all the diapers leak, they smell funky and she's getting a little rash :(

Samantha really likes toes.  She hates when people wear sunglasses or hats and will rip them off your face and withhold smiles until they are removed.  She hates having her nails clipped, but she loves playing with sister.  Sh isn't as fond of her stroller as she is of her bjorn, but she'll do great in it.

She is still nursing every 2 hours through the day and night.  She takes about 4 naps a day, 2 are over an hour and two are mini ones.  She is ready for bed by 8:30 every night and sometimes goes up to 3 hours without waking up.  I cherish those times :)

She still hates the car after dark, and really, by about 6:30, she wants to be at home doing our night time routine.  If we're out, she gets fussy, if we're home, she's happy and relaxed.

Other than nursing, she really does like food.  She's kinda over baby food, she wants real food that she can chomp her gums down on.  She way prefers fruits over veggies, and recently started juice every day to help her with her constipation issues.  She loves that.  She does really good on a sippy cup and recently we tried a cup and straw at Six Flags and she LOVED it.  Yay!  We also found her some rice flour baby cracker things that she just loves.  We also have been giving her puffs which she adores.  Although, she can't always get them into her mouth, so there will be 2-3 in her balled up fist that she's just trying to get into her mouth to no avail.  And still teething, but no teeth!

It's hard to believe that our little stinker is so close to turning 1!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Planting Roots

In 2 days we have driven 1100 miles.  We've driven through the beautiful (and my favorite) state of California, Arizona, New Mexico and now we're going through Texas on our way to San Antonio.  We have seen some just gorgeous sites.  And it has led me to the conclusion that we are so incredibly blessed to live in any part of this gorgeous county, proudly protected by the bravest and most courageous people in the world, regardless of what state you live in.

One of my closest friends is moving to Arizona.  To be honest, I'm saddened with her leaving.  I have really enjoyed watching our kids grow up together, I am going to miss our Chick Fil A playdates, and she has truly been there for me in my darkest hours and supported us and Matthew's team in any way she can.  I wish her and her family nothing but the best, I hope that they find their roots and flourish because of it.

As I drove through Arizona, I saw how truly beautiful it was, in most pictures I've seen, it just looks so flat, so brown and so lifeless.  And hot.  Can't forget hot.  Live and in person it is so much more.  It is beautiful, it is alive, the rock formations, the moutains, the hills, the desert, the sun, the beauty and pride in the highways, all of it was so beautiful.  I could see moving there, it really was nice.  Same when we visit Alabama, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the lifestyle, so easy to want to replant there and spend the rest of your lives there.

We are very fortunate that we have our roots planted and love where we have them planted.  I truly love where we live and feel we could live there the rest of our lives, growing old watching the community grow and change.  I love the consistency we've created and the routine we have.  It means so much to me that we're fortunate enough to be able give our children the lifestyles we have.  I love that Kaitlyn has had the same doctor since she was 10  months old.  I love that hte same doctor has delivered all of my babies.  I love that we are 15 minutes in either direction from 2 sets of grandparents who dote on our little ones.  I love that we are close to aunts, uncles and cousins that the girls get to grow up with a strong sense of family.  I love that we have had some of the same friends for more than a decade, who we not only got to watch grow up with us, but who are now growing their families as we grow ours.  I love that we are close to friends who feel so much like family that I cannot believe we aren't blood related and our kids get to grow up together.  And I love that we live in a place where we are 2 hours from snow topped mountains, or the majestic Lake Tahoe in one direction and sunny, sand filled beaches 2 hours in the other direction.  I feel incredibly fortunate that we can make a day trip of places that many people do not have easy access to; Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz and so forth.  We are surrounded by beautiful mountains and sandy beaches.  There are places to camp, to fish, to run, to swim and to enjoy nature.  We have pretty mild weather and never have to worry about a natural disaster of any real magnitude causing any significant damage.  In a day we could drive to Disneyland, San Diego, Hollywood or Las Vegas.

Despite the ridiculousness of many of the laws and regulations of California, or the poor economic state, I have to say, I love California.  I love my life here.  I feel very blessed to be where I am.  And I feel like I belong here.  Like this is where I'm meant to grow my family and deepen my roots.  I wish that for everyone.