Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 20

Ok, bad news out of the way first because I'm ready to write about some happy things.  Our beagle, Copper, has some kind of a mass on one of his hind legs. We should have results fro the toxicology tomorrow. The vet is thinking it's a sarcoma, which is basically a form of dog cancer. There are a wide range of sarcomas, so we are obviously hoping that this is either completely benign or one of the less intrusive forms that we can simply have removed and be done with. I don't know if we can deal with another loss of any kind right now, so we need this to be not a big deal. He's not in any pain or acting any different than ever, so we're hopeful.

Here's Copper hanging out with us in Tilly's room this week. Fingers crossed for this sweet beagle boy.

Now, on to happier things.

So, a certain little not-even-four-month-old-baby decided this week that she was ready to start rolling over and sleeping on her tummy.

So sweet, and so peaceful, right? Except that I'm a bit of a nervous wreck over it and have been checking the monitor (to make sure her head is turned to the side) and peeking in on her a bit obsessively.

I'm sure that within the next few days, I'll settle in to this new baby sleeping routine. Slow down, baby! You have lots of time to do big kid things.

Seriously, though, in the past couple of weeks, she has become so much stronger and more alert, flipping to her tummy, and holding her head up high and strong.


Well hello there.
Check out my sweet jeggings and my baby blues!
This photo is courtesy of Big Sister, and I love it.
Speaking of big sister, if anyone out there needs a fashion consultant, Nora just may be the person you're looking for.

Tank top and leg warmers? No pants necessary. The girl is a fashion visionary, right?

Also, when did my 4 year old become a teenager?

If we could have gotten to her with the camera just a minute sooner, she was dancing up a storm on her bed to the radio. It's one of her new favorite things to do. We had a bit of a dance party in there tonight, and she found it to be absolutely hysterically funny. I'm sure it wasn't my terrible dancing that was making her laugh so hard, though.

Also, speaking of how fast she is growing up, look at what she learned to do recently.

It's fun to hear her talk her way through it. "N, up-down-up. O, make a little circle..." I haven't tried to teach her any other letters yet, but she loves to write her name on paper and on her ipad, so maybe I'll see if she's interested in learning some more.

Other happy things this week:

1. My student loans are finally paid off after 13 years. So yeah, there is no time like the present to start saving up for the girls to go to college because student loans, while I'm thankful for them, are for the birds. But hooray!


2. We're headed to Nova Scotia in July! July 14-23, and I can't wait. We took Miss Tilly for her first passport photo yesterday, and we should have it in the mail in about 4 weeks.

I'm now heading into my final week of the regular school year. I'm so ready for a change of pace and to get one step closer to summer vacation and our big trip.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 19 (part 2): A Letter to My Girls on My First Mother's Day Without My Mother

Dear Nora and Tilly,

Losing my mother, your Nanny, has been the most emotionally painful thing I've experienced in my life so far. As Mother's Day approached, I had no idea how I would spend the day. After much thought, I decided that I would choose to do some things to honor her.

I ordered myself an orange rose corsage. Nanny loved flowers, but she used to tell me that orange roses were her favorite. Nora, you were so intrigued by my flower. You wanted to touch it and smell it, and you wondered why I was wearing it. I told you that it was Nanny's favorite flower, and that seemed to be a good enough reason for you. Tilly, it definitely caught your eye, and as I was snuggling you in my arms giving you a bottle, I had to take it off because you kept grabbing at it, and I was afraid you would stick yourself with the pin!

Here we are getting ready to go to Mother's Day lunch with me wearing my corsage.

Tilly, I love how you are so completely not into this little Mother's Day love-fest. Don't worry, you got some smooches, too. I'll share that a little further down.

Something else we did today in honor of my mother/your Nanny is that we planted a tree. I have several things around our house right now that were given to me as gifts in memory of my mom. There is a candle-- Nanny loved candles, and Nora, like me, you love to blow out candles. It drove my mother crazy when would go behind her blowing out all of her beloved candles, so it makes me smile that you do the same thing. I also have some wind chimes that hang on our front porch, and I truly do think of her every time they blow in the wind. And as of today, we have a tree in our front yard. We planted it this evening after Tilly was asleep and just before it was time for Nora to go to bed, too.

Yes, I am outside in my pajamas. That is my mother's night shirt, actually. It was one of her personal belongings that I brought home with me.

Your Daddy and I are saying "cheers" next to Nanny's tree-- a little toast to your her with some Mike's (cherry) Lemonade, which is a drink she always had waiting for us when we would go to Nova Scotia to visit.

I actually have a few other things to plant with Nanny in mind. She loved to sit out in her back yard, and for a while, she was really into her garden. She loved her flowers and loved to bask in their beauty. So, I have another tree to plant in the back yard as well as a flower for our garden. The flower is one that Tilly planted for me for Mother's Day. Ok, Ms. Tracy planted it, but I know that Tilly would have if she could have. Anyway, I hope to get some help getting our garden whipped into shape as well. I think Nanny would have liked all of those things.

Nora, tonight after we planted the one tree in the front yard you talked about how the tree would grow from a little tree into a big tree. I can't wait to see how it looks this time next year. Maybe each year we can do something special next to (and eventually under) Nanny's tree in memory of her-- a picnic, read a book-- whatever feels right. We'll figure it out as we go along.

So, as you can probably tell, it was a nice enough day, and considering that it was my first Mother's Day without my mom, I think I did ok, but I have some things on my mind and in my heart that I want to share with you.

A mother's love for her children is both simple and complicated. It is unconditional in the truest sense of the word. There is nothing in this world that either of you could do that would ever diminish my deep, deep love for you. You may be reading this now and rolling your eyes or saying, "Yeah, yeah, mom, we know." But you don't know. I didn't know.

On the day that you were born, Nora, I finally understood the depth of my mother's love for me. I always knew that she loved me because she told me and she showed me my whole life, but I had no concept of what that really meant until the moment I held you and looked into your eyes. Tilly, it was no less special or profound 3 years, 10 months, and 15 days later. On the day you were born, I was once again reminded that "love at first sight" is real and true.

Part of what I find so tragic about having lost my mother at this time in our lives is that I've only been a mother myself for 4 short years. I have only had 4 years to understand and appreciate my mother's love for me. On the day Nora was born, my new life as a mother began, and I looked forward to sharing this new life with MY mother for many more years. I looked forward to going through each new stage with her by my side, guiding me through the ups and downs as only a mother can. It breaks my heart that Nanny won't get to watch me be your mother, but I will strive to be the kind of mother to you that she was to me-- patient, loving, forgiving, and so much more.

It is not lost on me that I am blessed beyond measure to have had her for 38 years. Not everyone has that privilege. There is no guarantee that any of us will wake up tomorrow, so to have had 38 years worth of "tomorrows" with her is a privilege and a gift. I would have liked 38 more, but I will try every day to be thankful for what I had.

Nora, Tilly, I hope and pray that I get to raise you into adulthood and watch you each also become mothers, if that is what you choose for yourselves, but if for some reason, our time together was cut short, I want you to know this. My love for you is complicated because there are no words to articulate a parent's deep and unconditional love for a child.

And my love for you is also as simple as this.

Today, someone reminded me that the best Mother's Day gift I can give my mother in Heaven is to celebrate my motherhood. So, even though it was hard, today I did that.

I love you both, simply and completely, always and forever.

Week 19

This week was Mother's Day. My first without mom. I'm going to write about that separately, but in this post, I will focus on the things we did and people we saw.

First of all, let me back up to earlier in the week. Nora's pre-school hosted a Mother's Day breakfast one morning, and I was able to get permission to get to work a little late so I could attend. I'm so glad I did. Nora and I got to share a plate of yummy fruit and pastries, and she proudly presented me with the sweetest little painting.

She asked me to take her picture with her butterfly-feet painting. She was so proud to give this to me, which made my heart so happy. We attempted a mother-daughter selfie, but, well...

Oh well, we tried. :)

On Mother's Day itself, Brad let me sleep late (ok, until 9:15, but these days, that *is* late) while he took the girls to Target so the house would be nice and quite for my few extra hours of sleep. When they got back, Nora woke me up to tell me that they had some cards for me, and as well, they added a personal entry to my "Mother's Day Book"-- something they started for me last year. It's just a regular hard-cover note book that Brad adds pictures and notes to for me. Here is this year's page:

We got all dressed and ready to go to church, but 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave, Nora said she wasn't feeling well and crawled into bed for a nap. I decided not to push the issue and let her rest for a while.

After a while, and when Nora confirmed that she felt fine, we finished getting ready so we could go to Bo and Lea's for lunch to celebrate with Brad's family.

Me and my girls on our way to Mother's Day lunch.

We had a nice time, and everyone enjoyed seeing the little girls-- our 2, as well as Naomi.

I made it through the day with just a few tears, and it ended up being a pretty nice Mother's Day, even though I was missing my mom so much.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week 18

This sweet little thing hasn't been feeling great. She's had a runny nose for a couple of weeks, it seems, and she started coughing a few days ago. We went to the doctor, and her chest and lungs are clear, so it's just the typical East Tennessee "drainage" from a spring cold or seasonal allergies. Hard tellin'. Thankfully, she is in good spirits, and look at how strong she is getting!

We had some pretty days this week, so we found our way over to the neighborhood park and playground. Tilly just chilled in her stroller, but Nora had the run of the place as there were only 2 other kiddos there.

On our way out of the park, we spotted a butterfly! Nora stood and stared for a while, but she didn't want to get too close.

I wish we'd gotten a closer shot of her. She was so pretty with her shades of blue and purple.

After we got home from the park, both girls were pooped. They both took long naps, and Nora was so tired that she went straight from a nap on the couch to her bed for the night. She didn't even want to eat dinner.

Predictably, she woke up around 3 a.m. wanting to get a snack, but I managed to convince her to get back in bed (with me, but at least that's better than being up at 3 a.m!), and she went back to sleep until 7:00-- a much more acceptable time to get up for the day.

Tomorrow is Brad's birthday, so today, Nora and I decided to bake him a cake and make him a card since tomorrow is a work day and we'll all be at work/school/pre-school/daycare. A few days ago, Nora and I were at the grocery store, and I let her pick out everything we needed. She chose a funfetti cake, chocolate icing, star sprinkles, and candles that spell out Happy Birthday. We hid it in my car until today when Brad went out to run some errands. As soon as he pulled out of the driveway, Nora was excited to get started on his birthday surprise!

We finished and were taking these last 2 pictures as Brad walked in the door. It was perfect timing!

Nora was so proud and excited to give her Daddy his birthday surprise. I love how she is looking at him here. Awwww!

Finally, Nora has taken an interest in taking our pictures lately. Whether with the Ipad or the camera, the tables have turned on us. Here are 2 pictures she took this evening.

She was standing on her step, looking UP and Mommy and Daddy and DOWN at baby sister. Our little photographer-in-training.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Week 17

(April 20- April 26)

This week was special because this week, Matilda Ann turned 3 months old! With each day that passes, her personality gets bigger (as does her smile.) She brings such joy to our family with her sweet smile and giant dimple. With her sweet giggles and her big blue eyes.

Just look!

Has it been 3 whole months since she was born? Has it ONLY been 3 months since she's been born? I know all parents understand what I mean. I can't believe how quickly time passes, but I also can't believe she hasn't been mine for my whole life.

This week, Nora also got to go to a birthday party at a bounce house. The party was for Ella. I've mentioned Ella before, but it's been a while. Brad and I met her parents, Kim and Robert, in line at the immigration office in Memphis. We were at similar points in our journey at that point, and we we bonded over our immigration woes. We found out later that we had a connection to them (Brad's mom knew Kim's mom). Eventually we found out that we were both expecting baby girls around the same time, and since then, we've kept in touch. They're actually in the process of house hunting, and they've been looking at homes near us. There's a chance our girls could end up in kindergarten at the same school, which would be pretty neat after all of the coincidences that have tied us together over the past 10 years.

Anyway, bounce house birthday party fun.

I can't believe I didn't get a picture of Nora and Ella together. Hopefully we'll be able to get the girls together again sometime soon.

Week 16

(April 13-April 19)

Hopscotch, sidewalk chalk, and flowers from our yard.

Silly bath time faces.

Sleepy snuggles with Daddy. (And a visit from big sister/Mooshka)

More sleep baby pictures. (Guarding her paci like it's her job)

Bedtime bottle with momma.

Sisterly snuggles.

Playing in the rain.

Their hands in mine.

These are the ordinary moments that make our life extraordinary!