Friday, August 5, 2011

It's been 1 year.

Today is 1 year since Papa Joe passed away. This time last year I was 4 months pregnant with Baby Bee. This time last year, Sweet Cheeks had just turned one. On this day last year, I gathered in a room full of family members and said good-bye to the greatest man I have ever known.

One year ago I hugged my best friend good-bye for the last time.

To be honest, I am still struggling with this. The part that I find the hardest is that after today I can't say that he was here "This time last year". I don't know why I have clung to that so much over the last year, but I have. It's somehow made it easier. Until today. Because after today I cannot say that anymore. After today, the "last years" become harder to face.

August 10, 2010 was the day of the funeral. That was the last day I saw him and touched him.

Today is a hard day. I've clung so hard to the "last years" memories and I don't know how to let go. This time last year was the hardest day of my life. This time last year was the day my heart broke in half. This time last year I cried myself to sleep every night. This time last year I was prescribed sleeping pills because insomnia isn't healthy when you're pregnant. This time last year, Rowen was still wearing the shoes Papa Joe bought for his 1st birthday. This time last year I was working with the Red Cross to get my brother home on emergency leave. He was planning to go to Iraq with his fellow Army comrades any day. This time last year I prayed for a miracle that would never come.

This time last year, Papa Joe was set free from all of the pain.

This time last year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Rowen,

Dear Rowen,

My little Sweet Cheeks. 2 years ago you came into our lives and nothing has been the same since. You made us parents. You made us a family. I love you more than I knew it was possible to love someone.

Today you turn 2! You can run, jump, and play. You can say please (pease), hi (hiiiiiiiiiii!), daddy (da-daah), mama (mamaaamaama), Davis (dede) and many other words. You attempt to say everything we say. Sometimes it comes out right & sometimes we have a good laugh. You are wide-eyed and bushy tailed. You love to explore and to be outside. You love to swim. You love to play with cars, trucks, and blocks. You love to spray Daddy with the garden hose. You have the sweetest laugh. You love hot dogs & to take long walks. You love to go to the park & the zoo. You love to travel anywhere in the car. You have a smile that lights up the whole room.

I hope you never lose the part of you that sings in the shower. I hope you always laugh out loud when something humors you. I hope your eyes always light up when you see your brother. Never let go of the magic inside of you. You can do anything you want to do. You can be anything you want to be. You are an incredible little man and I know you will be a positive force in all of the lives you touch.

My sweet Rowen. Today you are 2! The whole world is out there to explore. & My hope is that you never become complacent until you explore everything you can. Dig! Kick! Build! Laugh! Share!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Cheeks.

Love always,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dear Davis.

Dear Davis,

Our little blond eyed wonder child. It's hard to believe that you are 6 months old today. When I found out I was pregnant with you I was terrified. I had no idea how we would be able to go from one child to two. I was nervous about time, and energy, and money and love. I wanted to be able to offer all of those things to you in abundance. I wanted to offer you everything wonderful and good out of life. I never doubted wanting you. I only doubted myself and my ability to care for two very young children.

But, Davis, we made it. We beat that Devil's Disease called "Colic". And we love you more each new day. You have been the perfect addition to our family and we are so blessed to have you. You can crawl. You are very vocal about your displeasure. You are always on the go. You love to play with the dogs. You love to chew on my toes. (yuck!) You love bananas and hate sweet potatoes. You love bath time & your jumperoo. You get annoyed if we are out of the house running errands for too long. You hate heat and love to cuddle.

You are a child full of wonder. You want to touch, see, lick, hold, chew and throw everything you come in contact with. You are almost always laughing and smiling during play time. It's a pleasure to be in your company & I hope that you learn as much from me as I am learning from you. Happy 6-month day, Baby Bee.

Love always,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Prayers & Coffee.

I got an email today from a friend asking me how we are surviving with 2 kids. {Davis is now almost 4 months old and Rowen is 21 months old.} She said that she and her husband were thinking about adding another child and she was curious about what it was really like - financially, emotionally, etc.

It's hard. It's a juggling act. We had to learn how to balance the needs of two children with the same amount of time it took to take care for one child. I'm still learning to get up and go on less than 4 hours of sleep. I have to remind myself daily that it won't be like this for long... Before I know it, they will be grown and I will want this time back. I try to take time to really enjoy them and not just try to make it through the day. We buy and drink A LOT of coffee. A lot. Our Keurig gets a lot of use these days. I shower when I can, eat when I can, and sleep when I can.

Financially is the easiest part, honestly. I use coupons. I buy used. Davis wears a lot of Rowen's old clothes. I use Swag Bucks for $5 Amazon gift cards that go towards diapers, baby cereal, baby food, or other "needs". We eat home cooked meals instead of going out. Since having Davis, our expenses have increased about $50 a month.

And, I pray. I pray things like "Dear Lord, please allow my children to sleep. I will do anything. I will cut my left arm off with a dull rusty spoon if that's what it takes." or "Dear Lord, make him stop crying. Please. Please! Please?" or "Bless this house. Bless our children. Bless our family." The type of prayer depends on the day {or night} we've had here in the B house.

If you don't use Swag Bucks, you should! Check it out by clicking on the banner below.

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{Disclaimer: I'm not an expert. I'm just a mom with two kids trying to do the best I can. Please do not substitute my advice/opinions for your own}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't stop by unannounced.

I hope that my child, looking back on today
Will remember a mother who had time to play;
Because children grow up while you're not looking,
There are years ahead for cleaning and cooking.
So, quiet now cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Don't stop by our house unannounced during the day. If you do, keep the above poem in mind. The living room where we play usually looks like a tornado just touched down. We are busy playing Lego's and hide and go seek. We are busy being outside in the sunshine. We spend our mornings cuddled on the couch watching cartoons. Some days we spend the entire day in pajamas building mega block towers.

My floors are not swept. My showers haven't seen a good scrub in too long. Sometimes there are dishes in the sink. Sometimes there's dust on our bookshelves.

We like to take long walks in the afternoon. We like to draw on the sidewalk with chalk. We like to look out the window at the "Mow-Mows" {cats} We love to wrestle and have tickle fights.

So, sorry dust and cobwebs. You'll just have to wait. I'm making it a priority to REALLY enjoy my babies. Babies don't keep.

Monday, April 18, 2011

If I only knew then...

If I only knew then what I know now, I would have loved you better.
I would have hugged you longer.
I would have spent every moment with you.
I would have prayed for you {with you} more often.
I would have kept you closer.
I would have apologized for every sharp word that hurt you.
I would have listened closer.
I would have memorized the laugh lines on your face.
I would have made sure you knew how much you meant to me.
I would have told you that you changed my life.

I find myself living this year in the past tense. Such as, "This time last year, my grandpa was..." Or, "This time last year was his last birthday/holiday/etc." It's been 8 1/2 months now since he passed away and I can't seem to let go of last year. I don't want to let go of last year. I'm clinging to these final memories harder than I should be. This time last year was his last Easter. This time last year I got pregnant with Davis. This time last year we were getting ready to travel to the beach. This time last year he only had 4 months left. And we had no idea.

I would give anything to be able to go back to this time last year. I don't have any regrets. I know how much he loved me, and vice verse, because we told each other every day. I saw him almost everyday. I hugged him every time I saw him. I'm not living in regret. I just.... miss him. There are still moments I get half way through his phone number before I realize he won't answer this time.

Some days are harder than others. Some days I am able to think of him and laugh. I will remember something he said, or did, or loved and I will stop and smile. Some days I have to stop and sit for a minute because the memory hits me like a brick and I lose my breath for a second or two. And then there are the moments where I swear I can still feel him close by. I live for the moments where I can still feel his presence. I still need that.

If I only knew then what I know now, I would have taken the time to really laugh with you.
I would have watched one more baseball game with you.
I would have really enjoyed your sense of humor.
I would have laughed longer at your jokes.

I'm still missing you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So, was it planned?

So, was it planned?

You know, the two small children less than a year and a half apart.

I get asked this question a lot. I guess most people assumed that only crazy people plan their children less than half a year apart. The crazy thing might actually be true, all things considered. Some days are so hectic I feel like I might be starting to go crazy, or gray, or both.

Nonetheless... The answer I always give is "Yes. He was."

The truth behind the answer is this... No, my husband and I did not plan to get pregnant when our oldest was 8 months old. No, we did not plan to live our lives in this chaotic state for several years to come. Yes, he was planned. By God. By someone higher than ourselves. We truly believe that.

Yes, he was planned. No, not by us.

I love and adore both of my sweet boys and I cannot imagine life without them. Some days are hard. Most days are busy. Every day is filled with love.

No, we didn't plan this.

But, aren't the most amazing things in life often unplanned?

Monday, April 11, 2011

We had a miscarriage.

We had a miscarriage.

No, Not recently. We had a miscarriage in December 2007. We had a miscarriage 3 1/2 years ago. Typing the words, and retelling this story, is a strange experience.

On one hand I am extremely sad for the loss. My heart hurts and aches for the child we lost... for the chance we lost... for the piece of innocence we lost. It rattles my soul and tugs at my being when I recall what happened. I cried for months after it happened and went through all of the What ifs? in my mind.

On the other hand? I am thankful. I am thankful for the loss that led us to our two very sweet boys. I am thankful that we had another year to grow as a couple before we saw those 2 pink lines again. I'm thankful for the lessons we learned and for the bond we formed. We are the only two people who know how it felt in that moment, as we sat next to each other and listened to the Dr on the other end of the phone...

I don't know exactly when we started talking about having kids. I do know when we got our very first positive on the pregnancy test. It was a few days after Obama won the presidential election. It was a Saturday. I woke up feeling awful that day. I didn't really think I was pregnant, but I thought it would be sort of exciting to go buy a pregnancy test and take it. So, that's what I did. I went to the local grocery store in my sweat pants and messy hair to buy a pregnancy test on a whim. I really don't know what made me decide to make the purchase on that cold Saturday in November, but we had the shock of our lives when we saw an extra line. We laughed... and then cried.. and then laughed again. I'm sure I threw up somewhere in there, too.

From 2 pink lines to a devastating phone call one month later... Both times full of tears... we survived.

That's truly how it feels. It feels like we survived. We made it through. We fought blood, sweat and tears to make it to the other side... and we have. It's taken us 2 children & 3 1/2 years to get here. But we did.

We had a miscarriage.

And we survived.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Do you feel this way too?

Sometimes I feel like I've lost myself. I get caught up in the day-to-day and I forget who I am. I forget who I used to be. I forget about the things I used to enjoy.

Sometimes I feel like I am in over my head. I feel like having 2 small children is overwhelming. I feel like I struggle some days.

Sometimes I need a break. I need 15 minutes to run to Starbucks. But then I realize it will take 20 minutes to get the kids ready to leave and it's almost lunch time/nap time/bath time and it's not possible.

Sometimes when I look into the mirror I see a glimpse of who I used to be and I miss her. But, I am going to get back to "me". The me I lost when I became "Mommy".

Sometimes I miss my Grandpa so much it hurts. I have moments when it hurts to breathe.

Sometimes I wish I knew then what I know now. And then I realize that even if I did know then what I know now, I wouldn't change a thing.

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person alive. I feel like I've been blessed far more than I deserve. And I feel like I take it for granted.

Sometimes I feel like life is really, really hard.
Sometimes I feel like everything is going to be OK.
Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by the most amazing people and I am extremely lucky.
Sometimes I am a walking contradiction.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amazon MOM: Rave!

I have two small children, so it's no secret that I go through A LOT of diapers. I order a box of diapers {Huggies} per child, every 2-3 weeks.

We buy 3-4 boxes of diapers a month. That's a lot of diapers, y'all.

Recently I discovered Amazon Mom. It's a service provided by to give moms a little price break when it comes to frequently used baby items. It's FREE to sign up and offers FREE 2 day shipping on most items. I say "most" because it doesn't cover everything, but it does include a lot of items.

If you sign up for Amazon Mom {save 15%} & also choose the "Subscribe and save" option {save 15%- Just remember to "unsubscribe" when you receive your items} you will save 30%!!

To make this deal even sweeter, you can stack a 20% off diapers on Amazon coupon with the 30% off. You can find these coupons in most parenting magazines. Some of my favorites to browse through: Parenting, Parents, Baby Talk, American Baby.

I often find these magazines FREE at the Doctors office, in waiting rooms, or at the local children's consignment shop.

These savings add up to be about $20/per box diapers... Or $60-$80 a month!! That's a A LOT of money!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Baby Bee {Davis}


Our sweet newborn baby.

One day you'll ask me where your name came from. How we chose it. If there's any meaning behind it.

Here is the story I will tell you.

Papa Joe chose it.

During the last few days, hours, minutes of his life I spent as much time at the hospital with Papa Joe as I could. I spent time just sitting next to the hospital bed, praying, and listening to the monitors. In those last days there were times where Papa Joe was completely coherent and carrying on conversation. During one of those moments someone asked him what he thought I should name the baby. David.

David was the name of my uncle who passed away a few years ago. David and Papa Joe were best friends. Brothers (In-law). Fishing buddies. Jokesters. One (two) in a million type of people.

We changed the name "David" to Davis for a couple of reasons. 1} To give you your own name. Your own identity. 2} To make the name slightly more unique.

Davis, as you go through life always remember you have a very special name. You have a name that was chosen with love and that represents two amazing men. Your name is more than just a name, it's a memory. It's a legacy. You are such an amazing little boy and I know that Papa Joe (and David) would be so proud of you.

Davis Joe. Our sweet little blessing. Carry your name with honor.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I haven't been blogging.

I haven't been blogging. Well, that's not entirely true. I have been writing posts, but they will never be published. There are posts I write to share, and posts I write to write. Last summer, I had to say goodbye to my grandfather. It was heartbreaking. It was a struggle to go through such a loss and to also remain healthy because I was pregnant. The past 6 months have been HARD. And, honestly? The posts about raw pain are incredibly difficult to write and are not enjoyable to read. So, those difficult posts have been tucked away for now. Maybe one day I will share them, maybe they will remain private. Only time will tell.

So. I haven't been blogging.

I thought long and hard about the direction I wanted my blog to take. Here's what I've decided: I'm going to return to the blogging world. I'm going to keep writing about our life and our children. I'm going to keep writing letters to Sweet Cheeks and Baby Bee. I'm going to continue telling our story.

Here we go. Blogging. Again.