Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10 months

We spent the four-day weekend at home, trying to get well. Both kids went to the pediatrician on Friday, both were tested for RSV, but thankfully neither had it. Hannah, however, just finished a round of antibiotics and Joseph is just dealing with whatever he has. I've had the same thing - congestion, cough, etc. and have been for over 3 weeks. We are ready to be well! Other than an overnight visit from my brother, Uncle Ben, we had a really low-key weekend.

Last week, while outside for some fresh air, I took these. This sweater was made by Joe's Aunt Barbara.

Other than the cold, Joseph is doing great. It doesn't really slow him down either. He is all over the place, and the fastest little crawler ever. Though, he doesn't really care for sycamore balls...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love is in the air...

...and on our refrigerator:

You can see the sweet Valentine Aunt Trudie made for Hannah and Hannah's valentine:

We have gotten some cute Valentines and treats. You know who you are. Thank you!!!

Despite being under-the-weather, we've been in the spirit. Sunday Joseph wore Ben's (my older brother) little red velvet john-john. He wasn't interested in having his picture taken, so I stopped trying.

Yesterday, Joe had a stomach bug and stayed home. Poor thing was down for the count. He got up long enough to walk up and down the street for a bit and watch Hannah do tricks on her tricycle.

This morning Hannah put on her Valentine clothes and headed off to preschool (to get loaded up on sugar).


Be still my beating heart...

And he's sick. Yesterday he, too, had tummy troubles but he's also got a nasty cough. We took him to the doctor today. Since he's only been coughing since Sunday, it's too early to do an RSV test (which we suspect it is). Apparently false negatives are common if the test is done too soon. His lungs sound ok and his oxygen level is good so we'll watch him and see how the next couple of days go... Neither child was cooperating for a picture to catalog Joseph's first Valentine's day.

I hope you are having a nice day, spent with the ones you love. And I hope you spend everyday in that regard, thankful for your blessings and the loved ones in your life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

precious in my sight

Let me tell you a story about this child.

I should start by saying I thought about not posting this. In fact, I've been thinking about it for three weeks. For fear of what people may think and looking like an irresponsible mom, I guess. But I can't be concerned about what people may think or who might judge me when they read this post. This blog is about me, and my family, and this was a significant day in our lives. I can tell you for sure it is a day that I will never forget.

About 45 minutes before this picture was taken, I was out in the front yard taking pictures of Joseph. Yes, when I took that cute little picture a few posts ago of a little 9-month old eating pine straw...

I went to the front yard because it was late-afternoon and the light is better. Hannah wanted to come outside with us and she sat in a couple pictures when we heard Mollie (who had come out of the house, and down the sidewalk towards us). I yelled for Mollie to get back inside, which she would usually listen to, but Hannah said "I put Mollie back inside..." and got up and ran off in the direction of the front door.

I assumed Hannah would do what she said she was going to, so I turned back to Joseph and took a few more pictures. My attention was totally caught up in him as he wanted to crawl around and eat pine straw instead of cooperate. After a couple minutes, I heard a school bus come barreling down our street. {I didn't know we were on a school bus route and this is the first time I've seen one on our street.} I looked back (same direction as the front door of the house) and didn't see anything, so I assumed Hannah had gotten caught up in Sesame Street which was playing in the living room. A couple minutes later, I decided to head inside.

I picked up Joseph and went in the house to get Hannah. She wasn't in the living room watching Sesame Street. She wasn't in her play room or in her bedroom. She wasn't even in our bedroom, where she'll sneak off to and play with my jewelry. She wasn't anywhere. It was eerily quiet. Thinking maybe she was playing hide-and-seek with me, I started calling for her and went through the house, checking under beds, in closets, and in tubs. Nothing. That was when I noticed Mollie wasn't in the house either. I started to panic.

I ran back outside and checked the front yard, the side of the house, the back yard. Nothing. I was screaming her name. Screaming. Becoming more scared by the second, I called our friend, Anna, who lives about a half mile away in our neighborhood. She picked up the phone. I told her I needed her and that I couldn't find Hannah, and that was it. She came over and got Joseph, who I had left in the living room before I headed back outside. {I took the risk of Joseph crawling somewhere and getting in danger of his own.} We continued to look outside, calling Hannah's name.

At one point, and I'm not sure exactly the timing and order of things, I went in the backyard of the house next door. The house has sat empty for a long time and the yard is a little overgrown. There is a rusty swing set and a workshop. I had the thought that maybe Hannah wanted to scope that out. I had the thought that maybe she was in that workshop, maybe she had gotten locked in or was trapped. Still nothing.

I ran across the street to where the Smiths live. They are an older couple and usually home. I beat on their door and was out of the carport before they could even answer. I yelled that I couldn't find Hannah and would they please help. Where was she?

I had grabbed my cell phone when I went back in the house and tried calling Joe. But Joe was on his way back in town and I knew he would be helpless. I came very close to calling 911. But I don't think I could admit to myself that I couldn't find my child. Did she fall down? Was she hurt? Could she not hear my screams? What about that school bus? Did someone else drive by and pick her up? Where was Mollie? Were they together? Every thought imaginable crossed my mind. The thoughts were terrifying.

My mouth went completely dry and I could barely take a breath. Finally I saw her. Standing down a little ways in the empty semi-wooded lot next to the Smith's. Not visible from our yard. There she was in that bright striped pullover hoodie. Mollie was a few feet away. I don't think I will ever forget that sight. She was so still, looking at me. I have to tell you, I thought I was dreaming. I ran to her, crying. {And that's the part she remembers. Later when Joe would ask what happened, she would answer "Momma ran. Momma cried."} 

About two minutes later, standing in the Smith's front yard with them, Anna, and Erin and Kristen (who had run from their house when Anna left in a hurry), Joe called me back. He was pulling into our neighborhood. Everything was ok. I however was not.

How could I have let my guard down? How could that have happened? I watch my children like a hawk in public. They don't leave my sight in parking lots. Hannah walks right around the car and stays by me as I get Joseph out. They stay in the shopping cart when we're at the store, unless Joe is with me too and we let Hannah walk for a bit. But you could definitely say that I am over-protective. At home, my walls aren't up I guess. I let Hannah play in her sandbox and in the backyard as I do stuff in the kitchen or elsewhere where I can keep my eye on her. She's never tried to leave the fenced-in yard. Anytime we go out in the front yard, she doesn't leave my sight. She might want to run around, but there are rules she follows. Every day when we go to check the mail, we walk to the end of the driveway, hold hands and "Look left. Look right. Ok?" before we step into the street to get to the mailbox. {Another takeaway: when Joe asked her how she crossed the street, she answered "Mollie look left. And right."}

Later, putting the pieces together and looking at the time on the photos I took, I figured out that Hannah was gone somewhere around 15-20 minutes. With all the scary thoughts and images rushing through my mind, that is forever... {Last night as I wrote this post and Joe and I relived that day, I thought maybe it wasn't that long. Maybe it was more like 5 minutes and seemed like 15 or 20 that she was gone. No. I checked my cell usage. It was 17 minutes exactly. And Mollie? Did she protect Hannah? Was she somehow aware that Hannah was in trouble and stayed with her? This is the dog that abandons everything to chase after a squirrel, yet she was there right beside her.}

And for the rest of that day, and laying in bed that night, I thanked God. I was grateful. My baby girl was safe. I learned a valuable lesson. I don't like to admit when I screw up. I want to be the best mom I can be. But none of us are infallible. I know with children you can never let your guard down. Hannah is a very curious and strong-willed child. I have my work cut out with her. I was overwhelmed with panic when I thought something might have happened to her. I can't even let myself think of the what-ifs.

I just love her so much.

 (upset because she couldn't pull the camellia off the bush...)

Sunday, February 12, 2012


8.9.63 - 2.11.12 

Whitney Houston was definitely a household name in our house. Growing up I would sing her songs with my hairbrush microphone as much as I sang anybody else's - probably more. I have memories of listening to Whitney as Mom drove us to school in the mornings, my brothers and me trying to hold that really long note at the end of "Greatest Love of All". You know it: Find your strength in...loooooooove. We knew all the songs off of that album and many others. That album cover is the image that always comes to mind when I think of her.

Nobody could sing like Whitney. And when The Bodyguard came out, I was obsessed. I have watched that movie many times and, apologies to Dolly, Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" is my favorite. Such a good love song, and one to which us middle-schoolers would dance (one-ruler apart) at our Catholic school dances. Oh how we loved her.

Her music was very much a part of my life growing up. Such a sad story of what her life became, in and out of drugs. It is sad to imagine all the beautiful talent that was wasted. Hopefully now she can experience the true greatest love of all...

Friday, February 3, 2012

can't get enough...

It is very quiet in this house. Hannah is at preschool, Joseph is napping, and it's just me - tv on mute, dishwasher running and the blessed hum of a peaceful house. Now that I've typed all that, we'll see how long it lasts... {I just broke one of the cardinal rules of stay-at-home moms: don't talk about how quiet it is or how good the kids are napping.}

Other than me having the crud, we've had a great week. The weather has been incredible - sunny and 70 three days in a row - and we've been taking advantage of it. Yesterday I loaded the stroller in the car, parked at the church preschool, and took Joseph for a walk before it was time to get Hannah. {I recently heard the importance of getting your daily vitamin D with 15 minutes in the sun a day. I took it to heart.} Then for lunch we had a "peanut jelly" picnic in the backyard. After naptime we took it back outside. We Skyped my mom and let her be in on the fun:

I can't get enough of this weather. It's February and I know it won't stick around much longer. Today it's already 10 degrees colder. I am thankful, though, for the little taste of spring.

So, rather than a long post of all we've been up to, I'm opting for a camera dump. 

We went to a birthday party for Hannah's friend, Jones Sheppard (and that's what she calls him - first and last names), who turned three. There was a train. And Hannah loves choo choo trains. You can almost hear her screaming "CHOO CHOOOOO!!!!" in this photo:

Joseph had a pretty good view of all the fun.

Speaking of can't get enough...I simply cannot get enough of this child. 

I posted a picture similar to the one above on Facebook. Hannah was home from school sick, but you can't tell. I guess her fashion sense never takes a break.

Joseph likes to ride the horsey. Would you look at this smile?

Hannah is screaming cheese. I mean, look at the blood vessels in her neck. We don't even tell her to say cheese anymore because this is what we get...she does it anyway.

It's a good thing the 2yr old fashionista was not home when I caught the little guy with this:

Yep, pulling up...

I could not believe my eyes when I found this: the double-tu-tu-ed ballerina owl. She saw Mrs. Ann and Mr. Otis working in their yard across the street and had to go say hello.

I'm glad she paused for a picture.

Hands full? Yes ma'am.