Monday, August 14, 2017

Puppy Love

We can't give our daughter human siblings (for now) but by golly she has such a heart for her furry siblings. This picture was captured tonight after Charlotte spent a half hour chasing after and giggling at her puppies tonight.  Watching her interact with the pups and hearing her laughter reminded me of the sounds of my niece and nephews laughing and playing with one another during the summers I lived with them.  I felt myself start to slide down the all too familiar slippery slope of wishing and despairing over Charlotte not having little brothers or sisters.

So instead, I consciously made a choice to focus on the positives.  Right here, in this moment, she is content and has all she needs in her Dad, furry brothers, and me.  And that is enough.  I will deal with when it is not enough another day when or if that moment comes at some point during her childhood.

Back to tonight, earlier while at church, Charlotte pulled from her mass bag a family picture her cousin, Mason, had drawn for her Baptism last summer.  As soon as she saw the image, her eyes lit up and she excitedly exclaimed, "Puppy!  Puppy!", while pointing to and tracing with her tiny fingers Mason's rendition of Dusty Shamrock and Hershey.

I love that Charlotte Annie loves doggies as much as her Mommy and Daddy do.  How funny is Adam's beard in the image though?!

I love that she gets such joy from her furry brothers....even when it means happiness comes from throwing food overboard from the high chair.

I love that the boys tolerate her playful antics and squeals of glee.

I love that they start each night sleeping in the same room with her.

Most of all, I love that the always present stinging pain of secondary infertility is lessened ever so slightly by quiet still moments such as these.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Christmas in July!

This posting is seven months crazy is it that life is so busy that even though this was written as we experienced Christmas in California, I didn't get around to posting this on the blog until July had nearly ended?!  At the beginning of the summer, I had high hopes for lots of blogging to be done so that I could get caught up; I've recipes to share, trips from as far back as February 2014 to talk about, and some realizations about suffering I've been mulling over....but a leaky sewage pipe in the garage that led to cleaning up a mess and reorganizing the garage and downstairs living room monopolized much of my free time before our mid-summer trip to the West Coast.  Granted, I had wanted to get the garage and living area downstairs in order over the summer but the added unexpected water damage/smell led to more work than I had anticipated.  The downstairs disaster was followed by the fridge fiasco upon our return home from Charlotte's second trip to California.  

I have missed writing in spite of not having posted in three months.  Well, better late than never, and here's to hoping I can get both of the California trips shared on here before Charlotte's third time out there in five months when the holiday season of 2017 is upon us!  

I squeaked this one out with it being July 31st but let's enjoy a little "Christmas in July" shall we?

Wheels up.... Here we come California!!

Charlotte did a fantastic job flying across the country for the first time.  During the first flight, that was about four hours long, she stayed awake for about three of those hours.  Her ears didn’t seem to bother her during the ascent and descent of the plane and she enjoyed interacting with the passengers and attendants as they walked by our seats. Halfway through the first flight, she had a massive poopy blowout that wound up with poop everywhere as I tried to change her in the teeny tiny airplane bathroom.  I wound up throwing away the stained clothes because a) they were a bit small on her and b) what was I going to do with the dirty clothes for the remainder of the flight?!

"Mom and Dad, should I hit the slots during the layover in Vegas?"

The last leg of the trip was for napping.

Other than the blowout, the rest of the day was uneventful and we were joyfully reunited with Adam’s parents by 10pm that evening!   


On the way home, we swung by In-N-Out for our obligatory hamburger meal.  It has become somewhat of a tradition for us to get a burger after getting off the plane in whatever city we happen to be in at the time. 

This little girl was on a mission tonight! She excitedly waved her boarding pass to anyone who would look her way, promptly fell asleep from Las Vegas to Ontario, California, and made herself at home in the arms of Pa once out of the airports for the day. She is now soundly asleep in her comfy pack and play after her visit to In-N-Out. Yum! 

On our first full day in California, Charlotte was able to play all day with her cousins, Riley and Tegan, since it was a day they were to be at their grandparents’ home.  For dinner, we all met up at a Mexican restaurant that was soooo good!  Charlotte enjoyed meeting Dustin and Jacob, her two older cousins, and spending more time with Aunt Wendy, Uncle Tim, and Uncle Mark.  After dinner, we caravanned to a neighborhood that goes all out when it comes to decorating their houses with Christmas lights.  We were able to listen to Christmas music that synced up with the lights and enjoyed the festive displays in spite of the rain.  

Early on in our stay, we paid off our house which made for a really special Christmas celebration for us!

After finishing up at the bank, we went to the supermarket next door and enjoyed some celebratory drinks!

Hard to believe these cousins are only six months apart!

Showing off her flexibility!

I think she loves California!

Like I said Charlotte enjoyed lots and lots and lots of cousin time today! She played with Tegan and Riley all day then had dinner with almost the whole family including her older cousins (Dustin and Jacob) before looking at some pretty Christmas lights. She finished out the day with splashes in the rain and bathtub! 

On our second day of being in California, we drove over to Adam’s old town and enjoyed a lunch at In-N-Out.  Charlotte also got to try out her high chair converter for the first time too.  She seemed to like sitting at the table like us grown-ups and eagerly eyed the food on the table before her.  Unfortunately, she has to wait a few more years before she can eat the yummy goodness of In-N-Out.  


That evening, just before bedtime, we got to visit with Aunt Frances and Dave who drove in from Arkansas!   

Today was a fun day of making more California memories & being happy to be reunited with Aunt Frances, Dave, and their cutie pie puppy! Today's firsts included riding in a shopping cart seat for the first time (unfortunately we both left our phones in the car so have no pictures of Charlotte loving the experience of kicking her legs while tossing groceries out of cart) and using the high chair converter at lunch. Even though she looked like she was in a straitjacket she enjoyed sitting at the table like a big kid! 
On the day before Christmas Eve, w all enjoyed Adam's Mom's side of the family's Christmas party. What fun Charlotte had meeting more family members including cousins of all ages! She also especially loved spending time in the arms of Aunt Alicia & Aunt Wendy tonight.   

The next day, on Christmas Eve, Charlotte got her picture taken with Santa Claus at a nearby mall.  She was tired and ready for her nap so in spite of jingling some bells, waving to her from behind the camera, and calling her name, she somberly stared back at the camera from Santa’s lap.  She seemed intrigued by the pom pom on the end of his hat but didn’t crack a smile at all.  Maybe next year! 

After attending mass on Christmas morning (she lasted all the way to Communion before falling asleep for a power nap), Charlotte Annie was able to meet more of her family when we celebrated with Adam's Dad's side of the family. She enjoyed opening presents, "talking" with Uncle Mike and her cousins, checking out Tegan's art snack, and even snuck a bite of pumpkin dip!   

 Love all the faces of the grandchildren in these pictures with Pa and Grandma!

Making Reindeer Art Snacks!

The day after Christmas found Charlotte using her high chair converter at two different restaurants and we saw snow! For lunch, Mom Sue and Dad Tom suggested we go to Flame Broiler for some yummy chicken & rice bowls and we enjoyed the view of the mountains and snow to the north of us on the ride to the restaurant. Later that day, we were surprised with a visit from a foreign exchange student from Japan who had lived in the neighborhood in 1986!  John and his family were visiting for the holidays and swung by for an impromptu visit which was pretty neat!  Adam, Charlotte, and I ended the day with some visiting of our own by driving about 35 minutes away to Anaheim (where Adam grew up) to reunite with some of his peers from his early elementary school years! Adam enjoyed reminiscing about things that happened as far back as 1st grade with his former classmates.

Adam and his classmates from the younger years!

Not feeling well...  :(

....but bath time makes everything better!
On Tuesday, we stayed close to home since Adam was feeling a little under the weather and Charlotte is going through some teething (slight fever and lots of drool) at the moment. It was a low key day that was spent playing and relaxing. Charlotte preferred playing with the Little People Nativity Set and especially liked when the star lit up above the barn.  She also discovered shaking her head "no" (in and out of context) especially when imitating Pa, enjoyed playing in her pillow fort with Grandma while Adam and I ran some errands, and looking at pictures of Dusty's birthday party!  He turned ten today and the friends who are watching him while we’re away had a birthday party for him complete with an apple and peanut butter cake he ate! Another first that occurred tonight was sitting upright in the bathtub to play with some princess water toys. It happened by accident but Charlotte enjoyed the new position!

On Wednesday the temperature ranged from 66 to 76° but I still don't think I could ever get used to hearing the lawn mower outside during December like I did in the morning when Dad Tom worked on the yard. Another surprise from that morning was when Grandma and Charlotte matched in their polka dots. The afternoon and evening were spent playing games at Aunt Wendy and Uncle Tim's house with the added bonus of getting in extra cousin time, enjoying yummy food and drinks, and seeing a wild coyote in the street on the way home!! It was also a rough evening due to teething and fighting a small cold.  Charlotte is still struggling with teething and in spite of falling asleep in my arms three times, each time I tried to place her down, she fussed and cried.  Aunt Wendy, cousins Lizette and Jerrad, Adam, and I all took turns holding her but she was still not able to be placated.  She was slightly better on Thursday and even gave Aunt Alicia and Grandma Sue some smiles but still wasn’t 100% back to her usual self so we had to resort to giving her teething tablets and Tylenol to help with the pain and the cough she was fighting.

She is definitely a dog lover!

We were able to visit with dear family friends from Virginia Beach who were also in CA for the holidays who are like a third set of grandparents, Dan and Sue, on Thursday.  They came by for lunch and stayed into the evening.   

We feel so blessed and fortunate to have so many loving family on both coasts and were glad to get in this time to visit with so many over the last ten days!