Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Years

Two years ago today we said goodbye to our precious son…

To think that we haven’t held him and squeezed him and kissed him and watched him learn and listened to his voice in two years takes my breath. It stings because life has kept going...even on the days when we want to stay under the covers and want time to freeze, it still keeps going. It’s just wrong that Cooper has been gone from us for two whole years. It’s wrong that he has a baby sister and he’s not here to have to share his toys with her. It’s wrong that our “family” pictures will never be of our entire family.

Two years ago today, we said goodbye to our son, but we know it's not forever.

There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t miss Coopie. There isn’t a thing we do that we don’t stop and wish he was with us. He is a constant in our thoughts and in our hearts. He will always be a part of our family, just not here with us. But we know one day we'll be together in Heaven and everything will be made perfect.

Here we are two years later, and just like everyone else, we have good days and bad days. We have happy days and sad days. There are still moments and days that are harder than others.

Having made it the past two years, I feel like there’s a lot I could say, but I just don’t have the gumption to say it today… except for:
We miss our boy...and God is good.

Psalm 18:1 (The Message)
“I love you, GOD— you make me strong.”


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Game Day

On Friday, we found out that we were going to have a couple extra tickets for Saturday's a family as big as ours that doesn't happen very often. My father-in-law wasn't going to the game, due to some cracked ribs (he's fine, thank the Lord, but I'm not sure if his horse will be when he gets back on it! Ha) and one of my brother in laws and his family was out of town. This was definitely not a big game (the visiting team, was Florida International and the final score was 62-3).... Anyway, all that to say, that typically everything wouldn't have lined up the way it did for us to have a couple extra tickets on the day that it was a game like that.... (also known as a game that people take their kids to).... First, I have to say that usually I kind of roll my eyes (lesson here, not to say what you are and aren't going to do! Ha) at the people that bring their kids to the games... especially little kids. It's usually so hot and I can just imagine how miserable the little kids are, plus babies are a lot of work, and why would you want to do that to yourself???.... But on Friday, DW was telling me about the tickets and mentioned wanting Annabelle and I to go... My first thought was, "Have you lost your mind?!?!?" seriously?--- take our (almost) 1 year old to the game??? I figured it was just a "thought" and he wasn't too serious....but later we'd talked again about it and he really felt like she'd be fine, and when she got tired of it, we'd just take her out the car and walk around campus or something.... I'd decided if he wanted us to go, then we should go! After all, it was pretty sweet that he'd wanted us to!

So on Saturday morning, we picked up the crew (Adam, Lauren, & Kelsey) and headed to the game.... we stopped and got some takeout for lunch and headed for our parking spot.

After lunch, we were putting everything up in the car and I was packing a bag to take into the stadium for AB. I was standing at the back door of the suburban and everyone else was standing in the front waiting on me, when I hear, "Annie?!?!?" --- when I looked up it was Tamara! She said they were walking by and she'd recognized Annabelle... Tamara is actually our cousin on Devin's mom's side--- she and Tamra's mom are cousins, and we haven't seen Tamara since she was going to UF and came to Thanksgiving at Devin's mom's one year... I think that was before Devin and I were even married, so it's been a while since we'd seen her! (But she does have a blog and reads mine, so we keep up with each other that way, and I would have recognized her kids, too, from their pictures!) Her little girl is such a cutie and was wearing the cutest gator dress and when I told her I loved her dress, she told me she loved my baby! Too cute... Of course I had to snap a picture for the blog!

Tamra was walking with her husband and "BBug" to the stadium and then she and their youngest were going back to the car to hang out... Tamara, I wish I'd told you come back over to our spot at half time so we could have visited! It was good to see yall!!!

We made it to our seats and waited for kickoff.

Annabelle enjoyed all the action and people watching.

She was so good... I mean, really she is always good, but I wasn't sure how she'd deal with not being able to get down and being in the sun and all that.... but the weather was perfect and soon after the game started we were in the shade....

The gators were scoring left and right and Annabelle got in on all the high-5's,
so she was parched after all that hardwork....
Devin held her for most of the game, but we all took turns holding her, depending on who she was reaching for... she's pretty fond of jewelery and sunglasses, so she was leaning toward both her aunts quite a bit.

We made it through the first quarter and I was shocked.... she'd get a little squirmy, but I'd pull out the fruit puffs and she was fine (even when she'd eaten all she wanted she decided that throwing them was just as fun)....And when she'd had enough of those, we let Abby come join the fun!

AB was so excited that Abby got to go to her first football game, too! We made it through the second quarter and I couldn't believe it!
Then we even made it all the way through half time!

We'd decided that she'd probably had enough and Lauren and I took her out... we went back to the car and got the stroller and Aunt Lauren gave Belle the grand tour...she showed her where she used to work on campus and told her that Uncle Adam would come by and see her there, she showed her where Uncle Adam (and Daddy) had quite a few of their classes, and she even took us and showed us the "giant french fries"... On our "tour", AB spotted this and wanted me to take a picture, because when she goes to UF she needs one of these...
pink, just like this one, please, Daddy...

Devin, Adam & Kelsey stayed in the stadium until about 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter and then they came to the car, too, and we headed home... we were all pretty confident that it was going to be another gator win, so we felt we could leave a little early... Ha...
It was definitely a fun day and I was so proud of how good Annabelle did. Granted, I am sure it will be a long while before she goes to her next game! But she CAN say that she was in the swamp at a game that Timmy Tebow played in.... awwwww.... :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Frocks & Locks

We've got an upcoming trip to Disney World and since this trip will mark our girl's first trip to see Mickey & Minnie and all thier friends, she had to have something new to wear! I'd been searching Etsy for something cute and came across a pillowcase minnie mouse dress that I loved... I emailed the seller last week about it and asked if there was any way she could have it to me by the middle of next week... she was so nice and replied right away that she was swamped with orders and couldn't make a dress for us. I was ill thinking about how cute the dress was... then I did it... I thought, "well, if she can make it, I could make it!" I mean come on, I did get a blue rosette for best of show at the SRF one year for my sewing project... (the Little House on the Prairie dress, that still has me asking, "WHY?!?!?!?").

So while doing some birthday party shopping on Tuesday, I'd decided to stop in the fabric store and pick up some minnie mouse red and white polka dots! Just a few dollars later, I'd gotten all the stuff and assumed I could whip out the dress that afternoon. ASSUMED.

It didn't take me long to remember that back when I was pushing the pedal and momma was handling the fabric, I didn't have a toddler crawling around at my feet. The project was put on hold until later that night after bedtime. A couple hours later, I gave up on ripping out a seam that I'd just sewn, threw my hands up and then crawled into bed. Wednesday was a new day. I finished ripping the seam and started that part over... I worked on it again, a little during naptime and then that night. Today all that was left was putting Minnie's finishing touches on (her hairbow and the zig zag stitch around her)....

Here's the finished product:

I'm still kind of shocked at how cute it turned out. (From a distance, anyway... I wouldn't let you turn the hem over and check my seams or anything crazy like that... I mean come on, it's not a fair entry or something! Cause if it was, I'd have mom over here running the fabric through while I pushed the peddle... ha...)

Annabelle had to try on her new frocks...

And I'm not sure if you noticed or not, but it was a pretty big day at our house (besides the fact that momma made a dress that was wearable)...we had our first set of piggy tails! AB's hair is finally long enough on top to pull up for some piggies...
I just sat and smiled at her with her hair pulled up like a big girl. I had to take it down though, because she looked TOO grown!


Monday, November 16, 2009

No Pictures...

I didn't have my camera this weekend. When I'd realized that my small point and shoot "diaper bag" camera was in the diaper bag it was too late. The said diaper bag and "diaper bag" camera, and precious little girl who requires the diaper bag were on their way to spend the weekend with her Grammy & Pop. I knew there was no room in the car for our big camera. We had 8 people, a tailgating tent, 8 chairs, a cooler, 4 suitcases (there was a strict policy of ONE per couple mandated by master-packer, DW) and a few loose jackets packed in the suburban. To say the least, it was loaded down. I felt a little ill about going off to make memories without having anything to "capture" and "preserve" them, but I also felt a little free to just make memories without having to worry about capturing and preserving them.

We left around 4:00 Friday afternoon headed for Columbia for the Florida vs. South Carolina game.

For the past few years, we've tried to go to at least one away game every season, and every time we've been, we've had a great time...

If I had taken a camera this weekend, I would have taken a picture of these things:

- Adam & Lauren's suitcase. They won the award for lightest packers for sure...

- The massive pile of biscuits the waitress placed in front of me when we stopped at the Cracker Barrel for dinner. Who doesn't stop at the Cracker Barrel at least once on a trip? And who doesn't love biscuits?

- The top three finalists in our "See who can buy the best junk at the jiffy store" contest when we stopped for gas. Granted, we only had three people in our party that actually wasted money on buying something, but the three items were definitely treasures... They were:
1. A ceramic bell (with an animated peanut & peach on the front, asking the question, "Yall from Georgia?"
2. a miniature (as in 4 inches long) metal lunchbox, with a picture of the Wicked Witch of the West on it, yelling at To-To with the words, "I'll get you my pretty" printed on it
3. a small metal tray with the characters from Star Trek on it, that said, "Beam me up, Scotty"

- The view from our window when we got to the hotel. There aren't many choices when it comes to hotels in Columbia... but this hotel was definitely a FEW steps up from our rooms in Columbus, Georgia (where we stayed for the FL vs. Auburn game a few years ago)... We did all agree though, that rooms like those make for funny memories...

- The line at the women's bathroom when we got to the stadium. It was at that moment that I hated myself for being the person who cannot use a porta-potty and who'd gone ALL DAY LONG without tee-teeing. Miraculously I stood in line without having an "accident".... and I know what you're thinking---that bathroom was just as gross as a porta-potty. I know. I am sure it was...I have a major issue with public bathrooms... I only go when it's an EMERGENCY and I've never even seen the inside of a porta-potty. Although, I did hear that the porta-potties that were in the lot where we tailgated, were really clean and smelled like cinnamon. Nice.

- my seat and the number on it at the beginning of the game and at the end. Starting out, I was seat 12. By the end I was somewhere between 10 & 11. A lesson was learned. NEVER let Annie sit on the end and "hold the line"... DW sits on the end at home games and "holds the line"...We are still confused as to why we sat the way we did and the girls were on the outside and the guys were all on the inside... (we were 8 tickets, 2 rows of 4... so on the lower row it was girl, boy, boy, girl and the same on the bottom)... We won't do that again, since we were pretty much sitting on top of each other by the end of the game... ha...

- the "Victorious Gator" balloon animal that the balloon artist (?) what are balloon people called? made for Stephanie at Chili's... (for a tip, of course)...

Like always, it was a fun trip.... and like always, there's no place like home...ESPECIALLY when home includes a sweet 11 month old!

This afternoon, I went to grab a camera to take a picture of her, but both my camera batteries were dead. It's okay though, because moments like I was trying to get a picture of this afternoon don't require a camera to capture and preserve them... nope, moments like those are forever burned into our minds. Annabelle was in Cooper's room holding his wooden toy hammer, and trying to climb inside the grocery cart that she'd turned over on it's side. It's times like those, when she does something so much like him that I have to stop and catch my breath. She's very much her own precious little person, but genes are genes and I'm thankful for that...thankful for all the little ways she's like her big brother...and also thankful for memories that don't require a picture to be recalled...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11 Months

I am finding it so hard to believe that it's November 10th. I mean REALLY?

Maybe part of the reason, is because if it's November 10th, then that means that our baby girl turned 11 months old yesterday. 11 months. As in, ONE month away from being one year old.

Annabelle Peg-

at 11 months old, you:

- are still crawling, but you now pull up on EVERYTHING

- have taken a few steps while holding onto something (the first time was 2 weeks ago while staying with Grammy & Pop, whom of course took you to get a 'prize' to celebrate such a milestone!)

- love to crawl all over our house all day long! Your favorite places to "explore" are in the pantry, in your big brother's room, and at the front door (you love looking out the glass), oh and in Daddy & Momma's bathroom. I keep the door closed so you can't get in there! I think it's the pink tub that calls to you... Ha..)
- love to climb.

- still put everything in your mouth. (these last 2 make me wonder sometimes if you are part goat).

- are very social. You love for people to talk to you. You smile and wave and laugh when given the slightest attention...and when it's someone we don't know, you are still sweet, but act a little shy, too. It's SO cute! You get very excited and say, "HEEEEEY" when you recognize a picture of someone, of if you pick up a toy that you like.

- are on a pretty set routine. You go to be around 9:00 and you sleep until around 8:30 the next morning.

- still take 2 naps a day. A short morning nap and a long afternoon one. You love your silky and your bed.

- are down to only having 2 bottles a day. One in the morning and one at night.

- are a great eater. You have protested baby food all together and so last week I bought it for the last time for you. You love table food.... you eat whatever we eat and you think it's the greatest thing ever to feed yourself. Sunday night at Grammy's house we let you have a spoon with some potatoes on it and you did so well feeding yourself with it. Your favorite foods right now are cheese, turkey, peas, beans, and still YoBaby yogurt.

- have finally mastered the sippy cup! You're a pro and you love it when you get a little juice mixed in it!

- are quite the Daddy's girl. When you were a tiny baby you were a Momma's girl, all the way. Nobody could put you to sleep or calm you down like me. But right now, you are crazy about your Daddy! You love it when you hear the door open when he comes home for lunch and you cry when he leaves us to go back to work. When he walks by, you throw your arms up and reach out for him to take you, no matter who's holding you. He's pretty 'over-the-moon' for you, too.

- are such a happy girl! I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked us if you are "always this happy?"

- are so silly, too! You love to laugh and to be chased and tickled. You love it when we echo you.

- love music and you always dance (bob your head) when you hear it... and you don't discriminate in your choices of dance music--- you don't mind if it's The ABC song on your LeapFrog, music on the radio, or hymns at church... when you hear a beat, that's all it takes...

- play peek-a-boo and it's precious.

- are the sweetest girl we know!

are loved so, so, so much...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Don't be shutting the Door"

I'm going to start this post with a definition. Mainly because, until this Summer when Stephanie told me she was going to take some classes so she could be one, I had no idea what a phlebotomist was. But also because I like to call things what they are... If it's a duck, call it a duck...

A phlebotomist: an individual trained to draw blood, either for laboratory tests or for blood donations. They are also responsible for performing Phlebotomies.

I'm no phlebotomist, but as a girl who's had children, I've had some experience with having blood drawn and this just doesn't seem up to par. (Excuse my pasty white arms)..
As mentioned above, I do know a phlebotomist and I think I need to consult her for her professional opinion on my latest run-in with one....

Last week I needed to have some lab work done. (No, I'm NOT pregnant)... I'd talked to my dr. about having my thyroid checked. I feel drained and tired a lot, I'm always hot, and I weigh more than I want to.

I'm a Google-er (which many times has led to self diagnoses) and this time was no different. I'd determined my lack of energy, my body's inability to control my inner thermostat, and my weight were due to a thyroid imbalance.

After discussing my symptoms and self diagnosis, my dr. thought it would be a good idea to have the thyroid checked. Of course she might have thought it would just shut me up for a while, too, though... Either way, I was relieved and saw this as my chance to get medical proof that I indeed did have a condition and DW could stop saying I spend way too much time self-diagnosing on the Internet. The bad part about the whole deal was the lab work that would be needed...I am a straight-up SISSY when it comes to needles and blood...I used to pass out and the first time I had my blood drawn when I was pregnant with Cooper, they made me lay on a bed to have it done. Dramatic, I know. I'll claim it. I have gotten slightly better over the years, though, and I can now have it done sitting in the chair like a big girl.

My Dad got back from Africa last Sunday, so he was off from work all week and I'd asked him to take me so that he could hold AB while I was having it done.

The girl at the desk called me back and told me I'd be in Room 1. I walked in, shut the door behind me and settled into the big plastic chair with a magazine, expecting to be there a few minutes. I was flipping through the pages when this big tall girl flings open the door and gruffly says, "Are you OKAY?" I was a little confused and sweetly said, "Yeah..." (with a smile, because I want to keep all those girls with the needles on my good side and I could tell she was aggravated)... She rolled her eyes and said, "Well, we keep doors OPEN around here, don't be shutting the door..." I apologized and she walked off.

She was ticked... I was confused... I shut the door out of habit---you always shut the door at the doctor's office...???? I don't know if I looked like the kind of person who'd try to swipe needles or what, but rest assured, I am not (but if I was) the stealing kind of person, the only thing in that place that would have any value or appeal to me would be the little individually wrapped anti-bacterial wipes. I love to have those in my car and diaper bag. (LOVE that they give them out at Chick-fil-A, too!)

I was hoping that the same girl wasn't going to be drawing my blood. I had a feeling that my hopes for saving my veins were in vain. (Ha!) After waiting about 5 more minutes, she came back in the room, grabs my arm and puts the band on it as tight as she possibly can. I tried to do start some small talk. I told her how much I dreaded having my blood drawn and that I always have... yada yada yada...This is my standard conversation for procedures such as these and typically the NICE phlebotomists laugh and say "it won't hurt a bit"....She had no time for sissies though or conversation. Without so much as a warning, she pokes me and I swear it felt like it went in one side of my arm and out the other. Then she puts the cotton ball on the entry site and wraps the longest piece of "stickier-than-duck-tape" tape on my arm so tight that my skin was overlapping. Then she took off her gloves and started putting away everything, still silent. I asked if we were done, to which I got a "yep"...

With that, I walked out to the waiting room to get my Dad & Annabelle and get the heck out of there. On the way to the truck and as we were running errands I kept telling my Dad that my arm was still burning and hurting... later when I got home, I took the tape off and I've been sporting this bruise for a WEEK now.
I took this picture today and I know it doesn't look that bad, but it's starting to fade.... it really was worse... either way, I've never gotten a bruise before when I've had blood drawn and it's never hurt as bad as this did either. So a lesson was definitely learned... I'll never shut the door when I go in to have lab work done again. I'm just doing my public service for the week and passing the tip on... So, if ya'll go in to have blood drawn, "don't be shutting the door!" will just make your phlebotomist ill with you and she'll take it out on your veins.

Oh, and just in case you're concerned about my thyroid... don't be.
I got the results back...turns out my thyroid is normal. I know, I was shocked, too. ALL the signs and symptoms pointed to thyroid disorder.... Looks like I'm hot all the time because, well, it's hot most of the time in Florida--and I'm tired because my 10 (nearly 11) month old keeps me chasing her all day, and if I'd stop eating so many cookies I wouldn't weigh as much. Go figure...


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

FL vs. GA Edition

Her first game

Last night we took Annabelle to her first Florida Basketball game. Devin's Daddy has some season tickets, so we try to go to a few games every season....

This year, I wanted to go to one of the first "small" games of the season so that we could take Annabelle and get her picture with Albert the Alligator. Since he walks around the crowd during the basketball games, he's pretty easy to get to... at least I thought...

It was an exhibition game against St. Leo, which happens to be the small private college that I graduated from! St. Leo worked out great for me and I'd recommend them to anyone, but I'm still a Gator fan! So no, I didn't wear green or cheer for the lions last night! Ha...
We parked and rode the shuttle to the O'Connell Center. This was Annabelle's first bus ride, and last night they were running the big RTS buses, but also a few Alachua county school buses. The school bus was our shuttle.
She was excited to be riding without being in a car seat! We wouldn't let her touch anything though... ewwww the germs.....I can't even think about it!

We got to our seats right at tip-off and AB was looking around trying to figure it all out. It's really loud in those seats and I was a little worried that it was going to scare her. When the gators made their first basket and everyone cheered she got a little scared, but after that she was fine.
She just tried to figure it all out and when the band would play something she'd dance and when anyone would clap, she would, too!
This is during a time-out. She was laid back taking it all in. Then, she saw Albert across the gym floor. She sat straight up, and started smiling and pointing at him! I was so excited that she saw him and that she wasn't scared. I just knew we'd get some great pictures....
Our plan was to watch the game until half time and then find Albert.
We didn't think it would be hard because he'd been around our side all night... then right before half time he went in the locker rooms. We walked around during the half and thought he'd come back out afterward. When the second half started, he was no where to be found. We decided we'd give him until 8:30, and then go if he hadn't come back. Right before 8:30, he had come out and was headed up the stairs to the main level! We jumped up and made our way to him...

Albert sat on the floor so that Annabelle could sit in his lap.

She wasn't sure about him. I think she thought he was a little more intimidating close up than he was across the gym floor! I guess those teeth ARE kind of scary!
DW picked her up after that, and she liked Albert much better when her Daddy was holding her. She pet him and waved goodbye...
And the reason we took her to the game.... DRUMROLL.....This is the best shot we got...
I was a little disappointed since it's not very good, but it does make me laugh---(poor baby, she looks SO scared, but like she's trying to be happy... she's so sweet), but at least we've got one! Maybe the next time we see Albert we'll get a better pic!
After that we headed home.
AB did so good at the game, like she does everywhere...
and while it will still be a long time before we take her to another one, a first is a first and any first is a big deal!