Sunday, April 23, 2017

What To Recall.

As we move through our lives, there are things that will be forgotten. The things that make each day here seem normal for us will fall away as the little beings get older and wiser and bigger.

So here I go trying to record snippets. OH snippets. You are a good word! I shall use you more!

ANNALEE (3.5 years) snippets!

  • Annalee was whining the other day at breakfast and said "brrrr, I'm hungry!" and we all had a good giggle. And now we say a version of that occasionally "brrr, I'm tired!" ;)
  • I brought Annalee to the library last week. She loves picking out books and picked out great ones this week. I told her she could pick out one DVD. She came back with two: one for her and one Star Wars one for Eli. She is so considerate and a bit sneaky.
  • Annalee often says to me when she sees my phone "I want to send something to ..." meaning she wants to send Daddy or Grammy or Grandma a text of just emojis (like 30) that she picks out. 
  • Annalee still uses "her" when she should be using "she" - "Her said..." "Her wants..."
  • "I'm still hungry." She says this lots. 
  • We are in full swing Star Wars birthday party prep and every.single.time someone asks about Eli's birthday she pipes in "And I'm having a golden birthday party!!!!!!!" and thinks it's happening soon instead of in six months and I may be sort of regretting telling her the theme (4 on the 4th so clearly golden) and already having bought items for it (so much gold)!!
  • So much her daddy in behavior. She took a calculator from the grandparents house without asking (I found it in her backpack) so I made her bring it back the next time we were over there and apologize. She would not say the words so we had to leave. Seriously stubborn. Most of the time she is SO SO SO easy and responsible and level-headed and fun and wicked smart. Until those times were she is stubborn and then it's cray-cray.
  • She writes her name and Eli's and Evan's and has started to read out loud letters she sees.
  • She colors at the same level as Eli. Not his thing. Totally her thing. Give her markers and a pad of paper and she's content for an hour. 
  • Annalee's favorite: "I want to have Annalee and Daddy time!!!"
  • She won't let Greg (and sometimes Eli or me) out of the house without "a hug and a kiss!" - and if she doesn't get it, she FLIPS out.
  • It takes her a few hours to warm up in a new setting or at a friend's house. She's very quiet and won't talk unless I really prompt her or unless Eli is with. For play dates, often I'll find her right next to me. Content to just watch other kids and be comfortable with me right there. But once she crosses over, then she's happy and loves to play with new toys and somewhat other kids (but depends on the kid). 
  • Annalee can be a bit bossy once she is comfortable (like with cousin Alexia) or with her dolls and it's cute. For now.
  • I think her biggest fear in life is being left. If I tell her to go to the bathroom before we go, and I happen to open the garage door and she thinks I'm leaving, she will scream. I have started to reassure her "I will not leave you"
  • She dresses herself, doesn't use a booster for meals, only needs helping wiping poop, can get her own water (sidenote: she had a flip out for a few weeks where she all of a sudden wouldn't get her own water after months of doing this... were talking FLIP OUTS... but I WON! After some serious stern parenting, she did it! Conquered her newfound fear and did it and whew!), can buckle the top of her car seat, help pick up (if her attitude is good, even better, often lately we've gotten "but it's too hard." or "it's so much work" which does not go over well with this mom and dad"), and entertain herself for HOURS if need be! 
  • Annalee was trying to use goofy words as adjectives like Eli often does and called our neighbor that babysat "chunky Bruce!" :-)

EVAN (10 months) snippets!
  • This last week he's been saying "ma ma ma ma" and I'm pretty sure it's for me. And maybe today a definite "da da" too.
  • He's our climber. Loves to spend time each day half up on a stool or the first stair. He's unable to actually climb up because his legs are too short (thankfully, I'm not ready for that). Auntie Amy brought over the walker this weekend which he scoots around in pretty fast!
  • I cut the hair right above his ears tonight, just a tad. He's got some crazy hair and a good bit of it. Bald spot from early months is starting to fill in (and sort of looks blonder). 
  • He lights up at his siblings.
  • Loves cheese, finger foods (bread/bun/toast) and really anything he can feed himself. He eats plain dry Cheerios every morning. Usually at least some baby food for lunch or supper with whatever I can get in a good size for him. He does like to eat. He's gotten a few non-food items in his grasp and I have to be careful with this one!
  • He doesn't love the Jump Up anymore. Hit that limit I guess.
  • He still nurses during the day and at least once at night. GROAN. I think he has an allergy. Has anyone ever heard of a baby that is congested only at night?? That's his deal. Nothing overly terrible but it makes him wake up and then it's hard to let him cry it out when he's all stuffed up and can't breathe. But during the day he is fine so it's not a virus/cold. I'm hopeful we will turn a corner soon because this mama is tired with a T. Or exhausted with an E. 
  • Evan's front two teeth are big with a big 'ol gap! He's getting in the ones next to those now too. Not sure about friends for the front bottom two. 
  • Our schedule is usually a 30ish minute morning nap and a 1-2 hour afternoon nap. Times TBD.
  • Eh-van...I go into him in the morning with a crazy high pitched mom voice saying his name like that. 
  • He's also called Goo by Eli or Baby Goo. Bubba or Bubs by me. 
  • Evan loves me most and is the most struck with separation anxiety out of all the kids. DON'T EVER LEAVE ME is what he is saying internally if I leave for a long time and because his brow line is so pronounced, you can just see it!
  • Size 4 diapers still... because I want to get through the boxes before we move to 5!
Whelp that's enough for now. Will get the BIG bro done later this week for his birthday!!!!

-HLK

Friday, April 14, 2017

10.Ten.one-zero.

Look! This baby is now in double-digit months and he's a charmer, this one!

Four teeth plus another one and two coming real soon!

Hi.

Outtake, check out my fast arms!
I want to write a big 'ol update post but I'm tired. So maybe soon, eh? For now: this baby needs to sleep better for me.

-mom

Monday, April 10, 2017

Her Day.

We celebrated Maelee's Day this year well. It was harder for some reason but a good sort of hard. And I'm finding myself over and over again glad for her life, how we are able to be such loud grievers and sharing our daughter with the whole world. What a gift good grief is.

This blog has been helpful for me to remember what we did the beginning of April each year since so I'm going to try continue recording.

Greg made french toast that morning, woke up early to make something different for the beginning of the day. Plan backfired. Annalee told me later "Daddy made the wrong breakfast." Neither kiddo was happy about the surprise french toast (which they usually love). They like their cereal, these two! He had Maelee's CD playing and it's been a long time since I listened to that and it was special.

I played extra hard with the littles. Crafting with the sister on my bed. Dark dancing in the bathroom with flashlights. Held that chunky boy longer.

I took the littles to TJMaxx. Retail therapy works even seven years later. I had a reason: I wanted nice pink (fake) tulips. And I found exactly what I wanted. Wasn't until I got home I realized there were seven blooms in my set! Perfect.

Evan wore the Twins onesie (under a sweet plaid shirt) I had bought in Fargo for Amy's wedding just after we found out we were pregnant with Maelee. Eli wore it for her first birthday. Annalee wore her rainbow shirt. I'm usually intentional in our clothing choices because I'm just one of those people.


Greg had his permanent crown put in that afternoon so he was in pain. We went over to Grandma and Grandpa's where they had pizza (requested by Annalee) and pink cupcakes (and adorable pink tulip napkins and plates). Auntie Amy bought us fresh perfectly pink tulips (currently adorning our kitchen table and bringing much joy). We had to eat, leave the two littles, and run with Eli to his school for his kindergarten music program (camping themed). It was pretty special to spend an hour with him, going through these stations, and watching him in his program.

We were all aware the day was special because of Maelee and I love that. We choose to celebrate her!


-M's mom

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tougher.

On April 6 
2010 - delivered Maelee
2011 - very pregnant with Eli
2012 - first time in two years NOT pregnant, with an almost one-year-old Eli
2013 - pregnant, not sure if baby was a girl or not
2014 - first time not in SC for her birthday, chaos with two sick kids not in our own home
2015 - again, not in SC, busy with two littles at home
2016 - pregnant with our second boy, crazy daycare woes and work drama
and tomorrow, 2017 - not pregnant (gladly!)

April 6, 2010 and three other years since, I was pregnant. That's a lot of babies. And it is a different feeling going through her birthday being pregnant. Somehow this year has been more reflective than the last few. It might be that I have more time at home, now that I'm not working. Or that the kids' ages are better for reflecting? Or that we are not battling sickness (praise praise be!). Whatever the case, I'm finding my heart pondering more and remembering seven years ago. I'm finding myself willingly holding Evan while napping this week, this will be the last birthday when I have a baby baby of ours to hold. Lots of feels going on here. No new insight or revelation. Continued understanding and thankfulness for how God has walked us through grief. Always, I am grateful for Maelee. Grateful that her life mattered. Always, I am missing her. I never feel quite complete as mom, as me, without her here. A piece of us is missing and that is okay.

Eli has a school music program tomorrow so our tradition of going out to eat and having cupcakes isn't quite happening (food at grandma and grandpa's (pink cupcakes!) and they'll watch the youngest two while we go to the program in the evening). We are planning to go to the happy place Friday/Saturday so we'll get to spend a few minutes at her grave. I'm looking forward to being with my favorite people and celebrating her with them, together. 

-Heather


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Recording Tidbits.

Oh man, the other day Greg, kids and myself were distracted watching videos taken from Greg's phone that he smartly (sure that's a word) saved onto the computer. It was just lovely to watch the kids a year ago, just see how they've changed and how gosh darn cute or hilarious they were at that moment. Take videos, people. It's capturing a moment in time and versus photos, you don't forget the nuances that go with said story. I'd like more videos of early married Greg and Heather.

And that motivated me to write down more of the current life we lead... because day-to-day goes by and you forget. Plus I have my mom's mom gone from Alzheimer's and my dad diagnosed with Alzheimer's and genetically speaking I'm pre-disposed so I'M GOING TO BE INTENTIONAL and write down memories. Also this fuels me to celebrate more. Y'all, celebrations are important.


  • Eli started calling Evan "goo goo" most mornings. No idea why or where that came from. But they are just thrilled to say "hi goo goo!" when they see him. 
  • Annalee is into naming her babies and made up friends "Tina" or "Prina" or "Piza" or something that ends with "na" or "a" - she is often celebrating their birthdays. 
  • Eli whines about an ailment or cries (perhaps a soccer player in the making here) quite impressively for attention. Maybe a bit of a hypochondriac. We may have fed into this. I notice it whenever I visit him for lunch or volunteer at school (or Grandma does), he's always quite struck with an issue right before leaving. Also right at bedtime. In his defense, I think he does get headaches and he does have bumps and bruises. But really, sometimes I just want to scream "you're fine!!!" (and sometimes I do, tough love, but he also loves a good snuggle so often that happens as well). 
  • Annalee feeds Evan most every day. She loves to give him his baby food. She's a bit messier than me but she's darn good at it and it's quite helpful. She giggles, he's all about it. I took about ten videos of this last week. 
  • Annalee often "reads" quietly to herself. 
  • Eli is actually reading now and he's doing fabulous. I try not get over into his academics (he's five) but he's doing very well. His sight words this week are "use and but" and he has told me fifty times "b - u - t not the b-u-t-t like this" because up there on his favorites are butts and farts and poop and BOYS ARE GROSS.
  • Snack time = the best time in our home
  • Eli loves to add "B" to people's names and joke around. Beli and Bevan and Bannalee etc etc. He also just distorts words and rhymes made up words LOTS. Annalee has also started to do this but it's a bit wackier with her. 
  • Eli HATES to see Annalee get disciplined. He always wants to intervene. Annalee has started to whine "I want the yellow bowl" or whatever in the morning. And when we started saying "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit" and she starts throwing a fit, we ignore. And Eli gives her the yellow bowl. So we have had to tell Eli he can't give her whatever she wants. It's ironic because often they are fighting over something but if it means she gets in trouble... he is quick to come to her defense (but not enough to throw himself under the bus either). 
  • Every night Eli will pray first. Annalee often doesn't want to but I do ask her to "thank God for at least one thing about your day" and so she will often be thankful for whatever fun thing she got to do that day. Eli prays about his day often and family and random but always, always prays "please God no bloody noses, no bad dreams, no dark monsters"... the boy does have crazy bad nightmares at times. 
  • Speaking of nighttime, future Heather - I hope you are looking and feeling fine being all rested. You better work out most mornings and shower and do your hair before 8am and be able to hold adult conversations. Because YOU ARE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. And it must be fabulous. 
  • Evan slept until 5:30am, ate then back down until almost 7:30am three nights ago and I woke up a new woman that morning, ya'll. I was organizing the basement at 9pm that night. It was a fluke, he was back up often the last two nights. He's hungry but also nursing for comfort but the screaming keeps us up even with the awesome noise machine... we will get there but until then, "raising tiny humans is exhausting" and "I'm a permanently exhausted pigeon";)
  • Eli still wants to hold my hand. I had lunch with him at school today. He held my hand proudly in the line. LOVE THAT KID.
  • Annalee won't let us leave her without "a hug and a kiss!" every single day. If Daddy goes without in the mornings, she will scream. 
  • I pick up dirty pajamas and blankies and socks waaay more than I figure I should. Somehow Annalee catches on to put hers in the hamper much of the time but Eli, every day I must say something. 
  • Evan is pulling up on his crib... so we'll have the lower it. He's up from his nap, sitting so nicely in his crib but I bet if I don't go in there in the next few minutes, he'll pull himself up! 
HLK

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily.

At some point in my lifetime, I'm assuming Maelee won't be thought of every day. Perhaps time will go by for a bit before she is consciously remembered. Even now as we walk through the daily grind with three littles, we are so consumed with them we can barely recall what it was like to be left wanting so deeply. I can say with certainty, however, she is missed daily and still thought of daily. And a big shout out to the oldest boy for many times being the catalyst for these moments. He includes her. The last six months or so especially, Eli will pipe in "and Maelee". When praying for us, he adds "and Maelee in heaven", he adds her name when writing down the family, and when he is divvying out such and such, she gets a portion if it's metaphorically speaking otherwise it's "and not Maelee because she's in heaven" and when he plays she gets representation. Tonight it was the magnaformer structure he built, one side was Evan's, one was Annalee's, one Maelee's, one Eli's. Eli will sometimes wonder or assume things about her with her in-heaven status. It's remarkable how matter-of-fact he is about her and how deeply he feels her existence, though short lived, still mattering.

Mid-March means we are entering into the season that is hers in my heart. Wishing I was in South Carolina to enjoy the amazing weather that is about to descend there, blooming explosions and gorgeous sunshine. I was talking about grief the other day and I know that God allows us to forget some things of the initial shock, or surely the weight of the pain would suffocate our lives away. Yet I also know I can close my eyes and be right back in that ultrasound room. I don't choose to repeat that in my mind every day. Instead I choose to smile when I hear my boy say her name, to feel joy that she's being recognized and SHE MATTERED!

Thank you Lord, for keeping our firstborn in our second born's heart and mind, for our constant reminder that this side of heaven is not perfect.

-Heather

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lloyd Stories.

I posted this on facebook now and I'm hoping to reach as many folks as possible.

Many of you know my wonderful dad has Alzheimer's. Rather than wait until his funeral, or years when he won't have ability to appreciate, I'd love to overwhelm him with your stories, comments, photos, your memories with him. I'd like to make him a book to include all of this. If you have known my dad in any way, for years or even just met him once, could you please get me a memory? Tell me the kindness, the humor, the impression, the help, the conversation. Tell me the way Lloyd was as a kid, or during his bachelor days, raising his two amazing daughters, enjoying his hobbies or even into retirement. Perhaps you'd rather say thanks or give kind words to him. I'll take any comments, paragraphs, pages or photos you want to give. If it's just to post a few sentences here, that works too. Try tell me why or how you know him so I can help jog his memory if need be. And *thank you* for being a part of his story in some way. Comment here, email Amber or I at: lloydstories at gmail.com or text me. 

If you know my dad in some capacity, if he's left an impression on you, do send me a blurb. I want to go through all these moments with him while he still has the ability to recall people and memories. I want him to feel loved and appreciated and to know that his life matters. He resonates kindness, has shown kindness to so many in his life, I'm hoping to hear stories we haven't heard before and smile with him as we remember together. Celebrating life is a gift and I want to do that now instead of after he is gone.

Thanks, friends.

 -The second daughter of Lloyd

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

ELK 9 Months.

Oh Evan, he's a thrill. He adds to the daily "work" load of my life incredibly but I melt when he smiles at me. I enjoy the stages of my kids as they come. And usually as they go too! It's important to find the good in each stage, treasure it, and recognize they will grow up.

Things to remember about Evan these days...

  • All schedules went out the window due to Florida vacation and sickness (Evan FINALLY has a clear nose and no yucky cough). Meaning he wants to nurse to fall asleep, some days he doesn't nap longer than 30 minutes, he's up a ton screaming at night for God only knows why. SO tired. Me and him and Daddy. I'm hopeful in a desperate way that we will turn a corner this week. I can't recall how long he screamed last night. And if I was smart I'd go to bed instead of type this. Sleep training or a schedule and more food is going to happen to get us sleeping again.
  • His top two front teeth popped through the last few days! Perhaps some of his sleep issues? I'm sure in a week they will be front and center. And for all those reading this, please be gracious to my sweet babe. He's got a serious gap y'all. Serious. I noticed it yesterday and today our doctor mentioned it. Even though we had that frenulum cut... still... this kid will need braces. And might have problems with his s's. And might look like Tow Mater. But darn lovable.
  • Scoot, army crawl, whatever you call it. Evan can get there. If you set something out he wants, he's on it. He can get up to traditional pose but doesn't usually get too far that way. He goes around in all directions too. And is usually slow unless he really has his eye on something. 
  • 7th percentile for height at 2ft, 3in and 72% for head circumference of 18 inches. He has stayed the same the last weeks in weight and is in the 68% at 20 pounds, 10 ounces. Since starting to move, his weight has tapered off as he was about the same a month ago. But no worries, dear ones, the rolls and cankles and thunder thighs are still in full force. And we shall pray he hits that growth spurt one day. #myshortgenesaretoostrong
  • He lights up. He's got such serious expressions thanks to his brow line. But when he sees one of us or something to delight him, he just lights up. His whole being is joyful in that moment and it's a wonder to see. I love capturing it on camera too.
  • Evan likes his blankies, just like his siblings. He loves to smoosh his face in them and chew on them and be all comfy with them. 
  • He likes the squeak of Sophie Giraffe toy, starting to like a ball he can roll, likes to put most everything in his mouth, likes watching his siblings around him, delights to see me or Greg give him our full attention. 
  • Evan used to love the Johnny Jumparoo and still does spend time in it, but not with such joy and amusement as before. We call it the Jump-n-Dump because more times than not, a diaper change soon follows. 
  • He still likes to be put in the baby bjorn, forward facing, with Daddy. This doesn't happen too often but it sure quiets him when he's fussy.
  • I'm way lax with certain things and let less concern me with him compared to siblings as babies (I let him chew a pen yesterday, he has gone without socks or shoes outside in the cold more times than I'd like to admit, I make him go get the toy instead of give it to him, etc). And I hope that is good for him, making him flexible and tough and easy going. 
  • He loves mum-mums like Eli did and has one a day usually. We try give him one to occupy him when we are sitting down to eat. He's ready for more finger foods so the next weeks will be full of new things foodwise.
  • Annalee loves to feed him his baby food. It's messier than when I do it, but she finds it fun and I'm all about a few moments to concentrate on food prep or clean up! Big sister win!
  • Evan babbles at times but no real sound with meaning as far as I can tell.
  • He loves door stoppers. I hear that distinct, loud noise and I know Evan has shimmied his way to the back of a door and fiddling with the stopper. 
  • He's been sitting up by himself for a few weeks, gaining confidence and mobility (going from sitting to crawling). It's nice to have another option to set him down.
  • We lay him on his back to sleep but most usually he goes to his left side and stays there or goes all the way to his tummy, tucking his blanket in with him. 
  • He giggles when Eli fake hurts himself, fake falls, etc and it's a glimpse of our future. 
I love you, Evan Lloyd, and I'm so glad I'm your mama. And I'm so glad I haven't slacked off in taking your month-by-month photos. You're welcome, son.

8 Months 2.14.17

9 Months 3.14.17
-Evan's Mom