Monday, April 17, 2017

Three

"Things happen in threes."  - I've been known to say this from time to time and way more than just three times.  Ha.

I've been thinking about this number of three for a while.  Is it because we're in the midst of celebrating Easter and the Trinity has been on my mind?  Or maybe it's because on the evening of Good Friday during the Stations of the Cross when Charlotte was being particularly squirmy and squawking, I had taken her to the back and stood in the narthex of our church trying to keep her quiet so as to not disturb the other parishioners.  While there, I carried her over to the Holy Family statue and together we stared up at the peaceful faces of St. Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus cradled in one another's arms.  They, too, are a family of three as Adam, Charlotte, & I are.  In fact, we have that same statue in our family living room downstairs!  I had given it to Adam as a wedding night gift.


Also, in thinking about the number three......it was three years ago today, on Easter Monday, that Adam Skyped with my parents to seek their blessing in asking me to be his wife!!  Now, when Easter rolls around, it has even more special meaning for me as Adam chose Easter Monday to be the day when he set the wheels in motion for creating our family even though I didn't know it at the time.

We are coming up on our second wedding anniversary next month and it is hard to believe it has only been three years since I was living in North Carolina preparing to relocate to Ohio, Adam in California, and that this precious little gift of a girl was not here with us yet.  As I turn ahead to summer and count down the days until finals (16 days until the last day of classes!), it feels as if we've been doing this married and family gig for much longer than we have.  It feels as if we've been in this house, as a couple, for way longer than nearly two years. 

I still feel the incredible honor and sometimes shock that Adam chose me to be his life partner and sit back amazed at God's hand in it all in guiding us to each other and bringing us to our cozy little home in our sweet little town.  I am so thankful God brought such a loving and faithful husband and father into Charlotte's and my lives.  What a good reminder for little old me to put my trust back in the Lord and to increase in surrendering.  Healing of these fresh gaping wounds and closeness with the Lord will come in time but I need to do my part in growing in my trust and faith as well.  Things happen in threes but thank God that He has no limit and goes above and beyond three in terms of blessings and quantity of love He holds for His children.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Seasons are not meant to be rushed through...

I just read an article about sharing grief with others.  This posting really resonated with me & I hope it will bring others comfort the way it did for me. This past month has been so very hard and just this past week alone has found me seeking counsel from three separate friars/priests at work and church.  Today's meeting wound up with both Father and me in tears.  A simple statement and question on his part had me dissolve into a puddle of tears that took me by surprise.  I thought that with the passing of time, I would be able to better maintain my composure and not instantaneously tear up any time the surgery or circumstances of Charlotte's birth are brought up but I guess in spite of it being over a year now, its still a wound that cuts too deep.  

I suppose that is why tonight's article struck me the way it did.  The words below are not mine but I could very well have written them.  The author talks about letting down the walls and letting others in which makes me think about what happened this time last year.  It was a year ago, as we flipped the calendar to April 1st, the month of meals being cooked by local families and delivered to our home started thanks to the kind generosity of local moms and new friends.  The food and the outpouring of support from those we were just getting to know or barely knew were such a huge help in our time of need.  This is why I try to give back and help other families of newborns as often as I can.  Every other week it feels as if another new baby is being born and it's a blessing to live in a community that values and embraces life the way it does here but with each new baby it is a reminder of what Adam and I can no longer have and is bittersweet.  I feel genuine happiness and joy over the additions to these families and absolutely love cradling these little ones when I drop off the meal but also feel pangs of sorrow at the same time.  What a wild ride life is.  

I am definitely looking forward to a new start and month tomorrow come April. Hopefully with the April showers, a cleansing and healing will flow and bloom like the flowers that are sure to come in May.  For every thing there is a time and a season and a time to mourn as well as rejoice.  Indeed, all that has been buried and withered away surely will bloom again. Jesus, I trust in you!
Here is the article I read tonight and below is an excerpt of some of the author's thoughts that struck a chord within me.

*** I have found, particularly in this past year as our family has walked through some major challenges, many of which revolve around me and my particular set of wounds in need of tending, that it is precisely in revealing the frailty and the neediness that the generous offers of strength, of prayers, and of support are offered in return.When we let people see our grossness, our inconvenience, our mess, we invite them in to do something about it, whether through prayer, compassion and accompaniment, or material support. And those are all ways that we are called to live out our Christian identities, to be Christ to a hurting world awash in pain.

And all the times I’ve railed against Him in pain or in searing alone-ness, begging Him to reveal the path, alleviate the suffering…almost to a fault, those have been the moments when I am clutching my pain tightly to my chest, refusing to offer even a sliver of it to anyone else, to some member of His body who could very well be the incarnate answer to that desperate prayer I am flinging heavenward. My pride and my preoccupation with not being “a burden” to anyone keeps me from hearing His answer, from feeling the merciful touch of His providence through the arms and words of other people. And apart from leaving me marooned in my pain and navel gazing into my seemingly intractable problems, it robs people of the chance to live out the Gospel.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1 year Photo Shoot!

One year ago, Charlotte Annie was ten days old and had her newborn photo shoot. 



375 days later on St. Patrick's Day 2017, I sit here amazed at the difference one year makes!  Enjoy the 1 year old photo shoot from a couple weeks ago!!


I was so excited when the photographer encouraged me to bring items from home to the photo shoot.  The "I am 1" banner was a consignment find last fall when Aunt Marie and I went to a sale near her house.  It was only $3!!  I made the lollipops, balloon, and candy decorations that went along nicely with the candy themed birthday party this past weekend.


Charlotte loved wearing her cousin Riley's romper!


The heart ornament was a sweet gift from a friend that has an inspirational message of hope on it.  I wanted to include it in the photos since Charlotte serves as a reminder to me to trust and place hope in God every day.  <3


This one is going to go in the St. Francis Room!  The elephant is from one of my dearest friends and is one of my favorite stuffed animals Charlotte received from the Pennsylvania baby shower.  The headband on the elephant's head is from Charlotte's godmother/Aunt Wendy!


This beautiful cake dress was borrowed from Charlotte's babysitter.  It was a darling outfit and the hair bow from the previous owner of our house was a perfect match to the dress!













Rather than use her hands, Charlotte would much rather eat cake with her feet.  ; )




The cake fell off the platter due to Charlotte using her feet instead of her hands...oopsie!



The bib from cousin Susie was a perfect accessory to this portion of the photo shoot!  The photographer, Kayla Sweeney Photography, generously provided the smash cake and perfectly matched diaper cover!!
I love how you can see the felt cupcake I made as a decoration for Charlotte's birthday party in the background of this photo.  Check out the colorful ruffles on the diaper cover too!




This was Charlotte's favorite part!  She even had bubbles in her galvanized bath tub!!






This book is the first one that Daddy read to her when she was one day old!  He had gone home the day after she was born to get some rest and shower.  Upon his return to the hospital, he brought this book and read it to her.  That was one of my favorite moments during our long hospital stay and it makes me tear up just thinking about it.  <3



That face!! 

Kayla, our fabulous photographer, created this collage on Charlotte's birthday...what a sweet gesture!



Love you so sweet child of mine!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Charlotte Ann is one!!


Wow, Charlotte is ONE!!!!???!!!
 
This past month Charlotte started scooting on her bottom, clapping, dancing, playing peek a boo, and "singing" by cooing along with certain songs.  Charlotte had a busy month!  She took a road trip to Hershey to help surprise Pappy for his big 70th Surprise Birthday earlier in February!  We drove out and back in one day so were quite the road warriors that weekend!!













Looking at pictures of some of her California cousins!


Mmm, chocolate!


We successfully surprised Pappy!


































































Charlotte likes to play until she drops!





Lazy weekend mornings are my favorite.  <3







Mildly amused at something I was doing....I forget what!












Getting a sneak peek of her birthday present (a Noah's Ark photo album of pictures from the first year!)...








Soooo tired but holding out until she could barely keep her eyes open...




She loves trying to give her toys to someone.  The only thing is...she doesn't like to let go.  ;)





This month's milestone was scooting!!!












She also fell asleep in the high chair for the first time this month.  ;)










She has a whole room of toys but would rather play with doggie toys.






Now that she is more mobile, she also enjoys getting into things she shouldn't (boxes, laundry baskets, the coffee table, etc.).























She loves using her feet for everything...petting the dog & smashing up cake during her 1 year old birthday photo shoot....!

























After enjoying dinner, Charlotte got to open her birthday cards and gifts from some dear friends & family.  I think she enjoyed herself and is looking forward to her party this Saturday!!

Loungin' on Daddy and Mommy!  She doesn't look like a baby anymore and looks like a toddler....yikes!





































 The video above is one of my all time favorites of her!  Love that laugh!!!


We are so excited to celebrate with family this weekend!  It's nearly 11:30pm on Charlotte's birthday night and I can't help but think that exactly one year ago at this point, I was being prepped for a surgery I have thought about every single day since then...even when I tried really hard to not think about it. I've sobbed over it.  Cursed it.  Was frustrated to no end by it.  Have resigned myself to it some days and other days, it's like hearing those words over and over again for the first time when my mind plays that dreadful conversation on repeat.  And am now, after recently celebrating my own birthday, I'm seeing that I need to look at the surgery with gratitude too.  If it were not for that surgery, I would not be here excitedly waiting for this time tomorrow night to roll around and to be driving to the airport to pick up my mother-in-law who is flying in from California to celebrate Charlotte with us.  If it were not for the surgery that seemed to have robbed me of so many dreams I had held since I was a little girl, I wouldn't have had the chance to start preparing for the upcoming party weeks ago or to think of some possible fun local activities to do with our Virginia Beach family who will be coming to visit too.  I would not be counting down the days until Saturday when I get to see my brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces & nephews again or to share the latest milestones and news with my parents.  Aunts, uncles, and cousins are coming from near and far to help us commemorate Charlotte Ann's first year.  Aunt Maureen is even flying in and back to Boston in one day just to come to the party.  So many are giving up time this weekend, putting miles on their cars, hopping on planes, all just to celebrate our Sweet Charlotte.  She is such a special part of not only Adam's and my lives but of so many others.  What a gift.  We are so grateful for our village!

Things I always want to remember:

+ your sweet smile and throaty belly laugh
+ your adorable little feet
+ how much you still love it when we walk in your room in the morning
+ your social nature and how you respond and react to other children of all ages
+ you love car rides and are such a good traveler!!
+ your sometimes slow to come around to new food habit...ha!  Sometimes it takes a few days to like something
+ how you squeal & squawk, flash your hands in the air (jazz hands anyone), and lean toward something that excites you
+ the way you smell after bath time
+ how much you enjoy story time
+ you coo and rock back and forth to certain songs and music
+ the softness of your hair and while we're on the subject of your hair....your hairstyle right now is pretty flipping adorable!
+ how you are starting to blow kisses!
+ you are such a sweet baby...which is the theme of your upcoming birthday party.  If I could have five more of you, I so would.  Love you so baby girl! The year has gone by so fast....and you have made me so happy in becoming your mom.  I know you have done the same for your Daddy too just by being you!







Future ballerina perhaps??



Happy Birthday sweet girl!!  Thank you for being such a gift to so many!!



Keep spreading joy wherever you go sweetie!