Sunday, November 24, 2013

Facts vs. Reality

Fact: Most one year olds have developed their language skills enough to say 1-3 word phrases.
Reality: Silence.

Fact: Most babies walk around their first birthday.
Reality: Stillness.

Fact: Most one year old's personalities have developed and start favoring specific toys and activities.
Reality: No toys. No activities.

Fact: Most one year old have develop their taste palate and have food preferences.
Reality: No messy spaghetti dinners.

Fact: Eye color is permanent by the first year of age.
Reality: We will never know your eye color.

Fact: Most one year old changed their parents lives.
Reality: You have changed our lives...and the lives of countless others.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Celebrations and confusion...

Today was a bittersweet day. The kids and I went around running errands for the big celebration on the 29th for Claudie's celebration. There are few things more confusing and hard than looking at first party décor for a baby that won't actually be at the first party.

Amelie, "Here is an elephant piñata!"
Henry, "No, Amelie. Claudette isn't here to hit it!"

And on and on their confused little conversations went.
It was confusing to me too.
Do I get the first year tiara and put in on her grave?
Do I buy things that say 1st year? Or will that be too weird?
Oh there is an underpad for the highchair. Genius. Easy cake clean up. {Pick it up to put in cart}
Oh wait. We won't need that.

I know it is celebration of the her life, but I am just so used to planning BIG parties for my kiddos first birthday wherein they actually get to be in attendance. It's really hard not being able to do this and instead think of things that "make sense" for a party for an one year old who won't actually be there.

No cake splattered over her face and hair. No loud laughter as she figures out the cake is for her. No gifts being ripped open. No pictures being taken. No gummy grins.
Big sister Amelie's first birthday cupcake...

No instead, I plan a celebration of her memory and legacy. And it has been BIG. Yesterday, someone asked how Claudie died. I said, "She died of an enlarged heart. Fitting huh?"

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{My Birthday}

Anyone who has kids knows your birthday isn't really about you anymore.

Convo in the van on the way to school this am:
"Kids, you know what I would really like for my birthday? You to clean up your room!"
Henry, "Can we talk about my birthday now, cuz I have some ideas!"
Me, "Your birthday was in August. It's not your turn."
Henry, "OK, Amelie let's talk about what you want for your birthday."
Amelie proceeds to loudly discuss her wishes for her birthday (which was 2 weeks ago).
Henry, "OK, now it is my turn!"

Woe, is me.

Poor mommy syndrome. Never about her. But this year I am glad it isn't about me b/c I wanted to spend the day doing 33 Kisses for Claudie .

It started out pretty bummy b/c my first stop was Hobby Lobby to purchase a Christmas tree for a friend. Somewhere between the Halloween and Christmas décor  I'll be Home for Christmas came blaring thru the speakers. I lost it. I mean L.O.S.T. it! I realized my daughter would not be home with me this Christmas and it was more than I can bare. After hiding in the back of the frame department and a quick text from my husband, I was able to refocus. It was still an emotional day but turned out to be one of the best I could have asked for.

Goals: 1. Make EVERYONE I see today happier than when I first saw them.
            2. Do 33 random acts of kindness (one for each year of my life)
            3. CELEBRATE life.
OK! Kids dropped off at school and I am armed with Kisses for Claudie cards (and some birthday money) so let's get this party started!


A tree with a $10 Hobby Lobby gift card for a friend re-covering from open-heart surgery. Our unit has "adopted" her family and the tree will filled with cash and other gift cards and goodies.


 One of the gifts for those who have been a light in a dark time for me. I can't show them all b/c chances are this blog will be posted b/f they get them.

 A waiter got a nice 50%+ gratuity at lunch...and NO it wasn't because she complemented me on my elephant necklace and said she loved elephants!

 Another $20 for THE AMAZING Salvation Army. Wish I had a $100 to give!

10 Books for the book drive!! (check the blog post Let's Book It for more details)

  Did you know it was buy one get one free day at Starbucks?? Soo I purchased a coffee order for the lady behind me...and

...6 more coffees for the preK teachers at Amelie's school.(I can't count the's mine!)

oh and I...
  ...Gave the barista a nice tip. The barista was so impressed with the project (before she knew about her personal tip) that she personally asked for 50 cards to hand out to the cars behind me!!! Talk about pay it forward!!

The teachers were pretty stoked:

It was on to pick up my other kiddo and go to a book fair. I saw this sign on the way in and so thought this would be a great way to help out...
...but they already had sold out! Good for your "charidy" kiddos!
Instead I was able to purchase two books for friends:
...and Henry and Amelie each wanted to get a book for the babies too!
The little girl checking out in front of me didn't understand tax and didn't have enough moola, so I covered tax so she would get her book too.
When I got home I was able to show the new hat and scarf I got for Henry! Making people happier than when I first saw them. CHECK!
 Pretty sure I can't count this as one of the 33 acts however, since keeping your child warm on 19 degree days should be a random act of kindness in my humble opinion. 
I was even able to throw in some celebration of life in there!
Cuz these crazies treated me to dinner!

On the way from dinner...
We unloaded a roll of quarters in 4 car-washing stations since it is supposed to be warm tomorrow and left a card with each one.

Over it was super easy to contribute in 33 ways and I wish I had more time to do more. But I was able to at least try to make each person I encounter a bit happier than how I found them. Whether it was a simple smile or a grand gesture, acts of kindness made a difference.

I think I will do this every year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I am thankful for...

Should I do it?

Should I jump on the bandwagon of gratitude and post 30 days of what I am thankful for?

I mean I am already doing 30 random acts of kindness for the Kisses for Claudie Project. But maybe I should write what I am grateful for too.

2. Your brother
3.Your sister
4.Your twin siblings
5. Our home
6. Extended family
7. Our church family
8. Friends
9. A job
10... uh let's see 20 more to go.

Truth is the list could go on and on. And I could use all kinds of poetic terms to describe the above. But really everything I have and everything I am this last year has been define by YOU.

YES! I am thankful for you little girl. 

I am thankful because you have refined what loves means.
I am thankful for the pain I have endured because without it I would still be dim to the suffering of others.
I am thankful the lessons learned. The mistakes encountered and the trials overcome.
But most of all I am just thankful for you! Because your LIFE was and ALWAYS will be a good thing in this world! 

So it's pretty fitting your birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving, because you make my heart bubble over with gratitude.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

{Tis the Season}

The clock has struck midnight on Halloween and we are all quickly bombarded with the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays.

November has always been my favorite month. Despite it's beauty, it also happens to be my birth month.


But this November is very different.
This month marks our what would be our daughter's first birthday...Black Friday.
The anniversary of the day we found out she died...Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving! Yes the day of gratitude. One of my favorite holidays. Good food. Family. Warmth. The commencement of the Christmas.


So how do I handle the holidays this year? I know enough by now to not know how I will feeling. So I have tried to kindly tell everyone I will not be committing to any celebrations, even for my birthday.

That went over like a lead balloon and I am already committed to several things. So how does one protect one's heart when everyone else is celebrating? I honestly don't know what to answer that. I do know that you must be true to yourself and honest with others or else all hell breaks loose on another yet to be determined occasion...usually a very inopportune occasion.

I wish I could blink and make all the memories of what last year stay hopeful and happy. But they are tainted now. 

Last year at this time I was waddling my big old belly from bed to couch. Trying to take advantage of time with the older children as baby was soon to make her appearance. Oh, to go back in time and have that expectant joy.

Now as each leaf falls it is another reminder of the impending "D-day".   Every sight. Every smell. Every sound. All reminders of her absence.

It is all enough to make me want to hide under the covers til January 2.  And while I don't know if I will pull myself out of bed as the Macy's Day floats roll down the streets of NYC, I do know that I am thankful for ALL my children, living or not...and that is something to be CELEBRATED!