Three years ago right about now I was in labor with a hopeful heart, wanting so badly for things to go right this time and have a living baby. Praise God that happened and that our redemption boy is still alive and thriving!
He brings us joy and laughter mixed in with normal parental angst. We are grateful for God's grace as we attempt to parent him without screwing him up. We do think he is a stellar child and we adore him...probably too much. His personality is sure to delight you and I wish I could adequately describe his goofy, thoughtful, selfish, energetic, timid, hilarious character!
His party today will not be in typical fashion due to a variety of things (more on that later). Case in point: Last fall I bought him a shirt that says "I'm 3!" to wear today. I put it in storage assuming there's no way we'd still be having our stuff in storage by now. Fail.
But we will still gladly celebrate Eli Joseph!
Instead of a planned, smiling adorable typical photo... I'll go with this one picking his nose, pants-less yesterday. Seems more fitting this year!
Back to our ND crazy. Flying back was a little tougher. I was thrilled to get back to the boys but our flights were at the end of the day. That means screaming baby. Sorry United ORD passengers. Then I didn't get to bed until 12:30am and still had to drive Fargo to Bismarck this morning. Very tired. Came home to our boy who was sickly and not so full of energy. The smile he gave me when he saw me was priceless though!
After a few hours of seeing him not well (fever, high heart rate), I decided it was worth a trip to the walk-in clinic. I'm glad three hours were spent there because after a chest x-Ray we learned Eli has pneumonia. Not a bad case. But definitely a reason for his continual saying "I don't feel well." And "I want you to..."
Poor kid. I guess a week of day care was too much!?
But the whole time we were at the clinic, all I could think about was how cancer sucks and that cancer in kids sucks the most.
Back in SC there is a sweet three and a half year old little girl who Tuesday was at the zoo with her mom, just a normal day and today had surgery and starts chemo. The mom saw Zoe had blood in her urine and that led to hours later finding out she has cancer. And stage four. Zoe is this mom's rainbow baby. They lost six sweet babies second trimester and a couple years later were shocked to be pregnant with Zoe. I met the mom just weeks after we lost Maelee, months before Zoe was born. She is one of those super sweet, strong women and her insight was always encouraging. I was so happy for them when Zoe was born (same day as our niece Ava). We bought "the beast" toy from them and though I hadn't seen them in years, was elated when they were blessed with another girl not that long ago.
So to hear they are facing yet another thing no one should ever have to go through, it breaks my heart. Please pray for Zoe. I'll link to their caring bridge site soon. Lord please let this rainbow baby live.
All that makes Eli's pneumonia seem very small or at least manageable among our continued crazy life. Watching him get his chest x-rayed was nothing compared to my friend watching her daughter get CAT scans or wheeled into surgery or chemo.
Makes me thankful for each day we get.
He was so sweet at the doctor then waiting at the pharmacy. Very thankful to be here to snuggle him.
I keep forgetting to mention this important milestone in our sweetie. She's been crawling for a few weeks! It's not your normal official crawl which is why I was hesitant to call it that at first. But if she wants something, she'll go for it. Sometimes to her detriment (she pulled a camera strap and ended up with a camera on her head today - ouch). She's getting better at it each day and I'm continually amazed considering how slow her brother was in this developmental area. So fun to see her being her own little person!
We've had a great Easter here in SC but miss our boys! I'm taking great photos on my camera but won't get those on here until later...
For now: because He is risen, we could all wear "loved" onesies.
Oh man I wish Eli was here in South Carolina with Annalee and me. I'm spending lots of time with his buddy, Caleb, who has grown up so much these last months! He's going to be a great big brother (starting next Tuesday!) and is getting some practice with Annalee:
My mom bought the kids these adorable outfits for Easter but since they won't be together, I put them on this morning. Later today Eli said "welcome to my school!" and was playing teacher (pretty sure he got that from our friends who homeschool that he spent time with this week). It was quite fitting because he was wearing a bow tie! And we called him "Mr. Kasowski" - what a sweet little professor!
Gah! Sibling matchiness! Love! Annalee has tulle under her dress to make it all fluffy. It's so adorable. I have a hat that matches so I guarantee you a photo shoot is in her future.
And sweet cousin Alexia was over today and I just can't help but share her adorableness too!
Made it through a week of full-time work. All you moms out there that do that each week, I salute you. I'm tired. It didn't help that Greg's mom was gone all week and Greg relapsed into sickness plus we didn't have consistent care for Eli so he was balanced between two friends all week. Uff-da. But we all made it!
We have found great temporary care for Eli starting Monday so that's a big relief. I've spent too much time searching and interviewing. Perhaps you are wondering why it's taken so long or why we don't just stick him in a daycare center. Well, there are no openings in any of the center-type facilities. In one he would have been #9 on the waiting list. Others didn't even have waiting lists! It's just crazy for anyone looking for childcare here. So I'm glad we are set there for awhile and I am confident our kids will be well taken care of two-to-three days a week. That's big.
Now we just need to find a house. Looked at a very nice, newer home today but the location was meh and there was a detached garage. Who builds houses with detached garages in North Dakota these days? That's just not practical! In our price range, there are so few homes that we aren't going to get to be very picky yet at the same time, I have some deal breakers and the attached garage is one of them. We just need one home. And soon, please.
Annalee and I head to Fargo Monday night to fly to South Carolina Tuesday morning. I am so looking forward to catching up with friends, introducing Annalee to a sweet southern drawl, eating Chick-fil-A, and soaking up the sun. It's going to be a great week!
Half of a year. It has gone quickly. And slowly. I have felt sadness over 'second child' syndrome or whatever they call it. I do not have the time or energy like I did with Eli. I'm so sorry, sweet daughter, that I'm not making your baby food from
scratch or adhering to some eat, wake, sleep pattern or spending hours just watching you. We are still in a survival mode around here! But dear one, you are loved.
Little Annalee is continuing to prove herself opposite from her brother. She is moving! Not officially crawling but starting to scoot. We will put her in the middle of the room and look away and bam! She's moved a few feet away. She also turns 360 pretty easily. All on her favored position, the tummy. Tonight she spent at least ten minutes banging a play piano while on her tummy. It's amazing to me that she's doing all this already and this last month has really been a changing one for her in how much she's able to move.
She still likes her pacifier. Still only the nub hospital kind. I hope she grows out of that soon or she'll have teeth issues perhaps.
Speaking of teeth, none yet but a faint bump on her bottom makes me think they are a coming.
She has had formula for the first time this week. I gave her mixed and she took it but other times fussed. I was concerned but our daycare lady said she's taking it just fine. I am still pumping four times a day so she's still getting my milk too. But that'll change soon.
She's been in daycare all last week and this week so far and is doing well! First days were rough but she smiles at the lady and her cousin (Alexia is there) so I know she's doing well. I sure am glad I'm only going back to work part time.
She's eating foods too. I've tried and she won't swallow much of anything actually in her mouth but the daycare lady says she's doing fine with eating bananas and sweet potatoes. Annalee refused my avocado. So not her brother.
At her appointment this week she is hilariously in the 15% for height (oh sorry sweetie) and 30% for weight and 56% for her head circumference. Annalee Linn is petite! Her feet STILL don't fit into the three-month shoes I have! Tiny!
I'm too tired to type more and pumping is ending. Just know we are loving having Annalee and her bright eyes, sweet smile, dramatic personality, big cheeks, thick thighs, and giggly gab in our lives!
Our mama put this new cupcake bib on me today. She told me it was my big sister's birthday. She also put me in this outfit that she bought for you, one of the first ones she bought when she knew you were a girl. I wear lots of your clothes, you know. I have really short legs. I wonder if you did, too. You know, you'll always be the firstborn but I bet we'll always think of you as the baby, even after I'm grown up (and hopefully taller).
We were supposed to have a nice family day but it hasn't turned out like Mom wanted. It's all chaotic and overwhelming, like much of life since I arrived! I have a cold so Mom and Dad have been up with me way too often at night. But did you know that in the wee hours this morning, Mom snuggled me extra long just because of you? That was nice. But you know, we can't really enjoy the cupcakes. Our brother just threw up allll over the basement, right after me and the parents came back from looking at a couple homes, none of which are a good fit to buy. Big bummer, right? Mom was sort of hoping we'd find a house to buy on your birthday. I just want my own room so I don't have to sleep in the storage closet or share with Mom and Dad. I sleep in the crib that was bought for you, you know. I guess your room was really spectacular. I don't mind using your stuff and Mom likes that there are lovely little reminders of you everywhere. I suppose that will lessen as I get older. And eventually there won't be any clothes for me to wear that were bought for you (though Mom is pretty sure she even bought up to size 4T for you, she really had a lot of time to shop four years ago).
I wish you were here for your fourth birthday so we could have a fun party and be chaotic and overwhelmed with you. I really wish I had my big sister here to enjoy. I love Eli so much and I just know I'd love you too. He loves to say good morning to me and sometimes he smooshes me a little. I bet you would have been kinder to me! And we could have been so close, us sisters.
I know that we are struggling in this not-perfect world but Mom says you aren't struggling at all. You are living it up in a place with no sadness or tears. I bet you just glow with joy in heaven, right there with the Perfect Peace Himself. And no sickness too! Mom thinks that sounds especially grand right now.
Maelee, I'm so bummed I don't get to grow up with you. But Mom is pretty sure I'll know about you and love you anyway. And I already think my favorite flower is a pink tulip.
I was able to work all day Thursday and Friday. It was pretty great. I am excited about the position and what I'll be doing and who I'll be working with. But at the start of my first day, I was feeling super guilty about leaving Eli and Annalee. Super worst-mom-of-all-time guilt.
But then I walked into this luncheon that I was attending for work and lo and behold, tulips! Pink! All over! This week of all weeks! It was a very small but meaningful encouragement to me that it's going to be okay, that my going back to work part-time is not going to ruin Eli or Annalee. Then I even got to take the (fake) pink tulips back to my desk. How great is that!?
I have lots I'm processing in between the stress of our lives and I do hope to share some of that soon. The nice thing about this being crazy busy is no time to mope about what happened the worst day of our lives four years ago. Grateful for the time that has healed the sting and the grace God has given us in this journey. For sure.
I also have tried to get Annalee's six month photos taken all today but she is just not a happy camper (a cold, maybe teething, little fever) but when I do take them, I'll share more about her latest accomplishments (maybe not the right word, it's not like she's accomplished in violin or anything).
I am ready for some normalcy to come. I am ready to not have a long list of crazy filling my days. I yearn for settledness instead of drama!
Greg was sick. Praise God not terminally ill but just bad sick. Horrible timing as I had orientation Monday and Annalee's first day of daycare. Also ironic timing was a nasty blizzard Monday. I made it to 12:30 then my family needed me and the unknown storm added chaos... though to be honest forging through snow drifts in my mini-van was somewhat exciting. The rest of the day was tough, trying to manage the kids and sick daddy and prepare for the next day. I have no idea how single working moms do it. Unless they live with their mom-in-law like me... she's such a gift to us in this crazy. I just wish we didn't suck all her energy!
Sigh. Not a stellar first impression to leave orientation a half day early and then today to miss my first full day in the office. This morning I was showing symptoms of Greg's sickness plus a migraine. I really didn't want to give germs. Greg was all better, thankfully, and the kids were taken care of so I had most of the day to rest and finish laundry. I'm feeling better with my head still swirling a bit. I really think I just got a mild case of sick and a big case of exhaustion. Eli was up once and Annalee was up four times last night. Seriously this girl needs a schedule!!
I am excited about my job with a solidly. great employer and flexible, understanding co-workers and boss. I did say I like to do monumental life things during snowstorms. Though I was sort of wondering if all this was showing me I shouldn't go back to work. This whole having a job and young kids is a new concept for us. Heck, just having a job again is a feat! I keep telling myself it's just part-time.
Oh and our house is closing tomorrow. I hope this is true and I never have to say that again!
Allll this happening as we enter into Maelee's week. Gulp. Lord how we need your grace daily and this week is no exception.
Hoping for gentleness to lead the remainder of this week.