We celebrated Eli turning five a few days early on Saturday. I did not go crazy party planning so you all can be shocked and amazed. We still had a great party with all of Eli's requests: flashlights, tacos and ice cream. Add in a super cool scavenger hunt and a sort of lame dark dance, a few friends and family and a spoiled kid getting presents, and you have our party!
OSHA would not approve of that ladder safety.
I made a "5" sign using words to describe Eli. Super fun to do, took only 20 minutes, highly recommend as a quick but big impact decor.
Here was the birthday boy with his R2-D2 sticker he got at school yesterday.
And with his dad at McDonald's, his requested birthday supper. Not my favorite, but at least he ordered an orange!
It's Maelee's week. We woke up to snow on the ground yesterday so it sure doesn't remind me of South Carolina six years ago, but it is still her week. It started out a bit crazy...
I posted about our daycare scare... well, yesterday she found out her sprained ankle is actually a broken foot and the poor thing is where I was almost three years ago - no weight bearing, a boot, and roller-aid for at least a month! No daycare for us!
Thankfully (many texts later) Eli's preschool buddy's mom is watching the kids two days, and Greg's cousin's wife who had a baby in February is going to watch them for another six days (so very grateful!), and the grandparents for one day, a friend for a morning... assuming no sickness takes over, we are good for the next month and I can keep working. We just have to make it through June/until baby arrives for insurance reasons and it's looking more and more like me working won't be happening much into the fall anyway.
Thanks be to God, this time around, partly due to the crazy work situation of late that I'm not overly thrilled to be at, I was not too concerned about the details. Within hours we had the above figured out and Grandpa even stepped up to watch the kids so I could finish up my work week. Plus this little baby moves around so much, he is doing fine through this (this week, most especially, I need him to remind me he is okay).
Something I'm quite thankful for is how well our kids play together and how they handle people and situations. They are obviously still kids and need watching, but they are intuitive and follow common sense and rules more often than not. They are good at entertaining themselves with toys and stories and pretend play. Most of the time, they get along well with each other and know how to play together and independently. They like other kids and grown-ups (especially in smaller groups) and interact well with others. It may seem like a small thing but it warms this momma heart that they adapt so well to others. Church nursery, the handful of daycare situations, play dates, relatives, parties... they handle it really well. Sometimes Eli will whine to go to Sunday School but only for a minute. Truly, in certain situations, he will stick to us and whine and pout to our witt's end so that's not ideal. Sometimes Annalee can be clingy in large groups but she always warms up eventually. I want to remember this and treasure the good in it!
Today I overheard Annalee say something about "my sister" from the other room. No context. No idea why. But the bond they will miss is not lost on me.
And another story - Eli made a tulip at preschool a few weeks ago and as I was unpacking his backpack of daily projects, I exclaimed how pretty it was. He volunteered the story: "I told [the student teacher] tulips remind us of Maelee. And she asked "who's Maelee" and I said "My sister in heaven. She died and we have tulips to remember her." So of course, I melted a little that my sweet boy was so matter-of-fact about this, that he knows there was another baby before him and even keeps her in a tender spot in his heart. Love, love that boy.
It's a different feeling being pregnant again this April. Oh how my pregnancy differs now versus six years ago! I was such a different mommy back then! Overall, I am continually struck by the fact I'm a better mom because of Maelee and I'm so grateful for her in our lives. I still ache for her to be here as the older sister but the sting is less harsh and the good from her death can be so wildly apparent. I wrote an article for work on suffering and the good that can come of it. Truly, she has given us this glimpse of another world we would have not been given otherwise.
Wednesday, April 6, we will go out to eat as a family, maybe have some cake and ice cream, and celebrate together the gift of this baby that forever marked us. Sidenote: I just learned it's wacky hair day at preschool that day so I asked Eli if I could give him a mo-hawk since we have to cut his hair anyway and he burst into tears, whining and adamantly said I want my hair to stay like this... so perhaps "adventurous" or "willing to try new things" is not on his list of personality traits.