Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Timmy Time!

I realized that I forgot to share a previously untold Charlotte memory on her 14th month birthday.  So here goes!

Timmy, it's Timmy
He's a little lamb with a lot to learn
Timmy, it's Timmy
He's a handful of trouble at every turn

Timmy leaves the farm, goes out to the world
Trying to be cool he's number one
He joins all his friends on a big adventure
And he's always having such a lot of fun

Timmy it's Timmy
He's a little lamb with a lot to learn
Timmy it's Timmy
He's a handful of trouble at every turn (a lot of fun)
Timmy it's Timmy
He's a little lamb with a lot to learn!

So…my guess is that 95% of you have no clue what is going on after my crazy little song above. The other 5% of you probably have small children who watch Disney Junior in the morning while you scramble to get out the door on time!  For those of you that fall into the 95%, let me give you a little insight to this little cartoon.  

Timmy is a lamb (a sometimes naughty and selfish lamb). He goes to school in a little red barn with lots of other little animals…a kitten, a puppy and a duckling to name a few. They have teachers that are also animals. The typical episode consisted of Timmy learning a lesson. He learned to share, he learned to help others, he learned to be a good little lamb and a good friend.

Here’s the kicker…there are no words in this cartoon. Words no…but there were plenty of “Bahs” “Meows” “Ruffs” and “Quacks.” Haha…it makes me laugh just thinking about it.

Now, this might sound like the most annoying program in the world, but there was one thing that made it tolerable for Matt and me. Every morning while we scrambled to get ourselves out the door this cartoon would come on and every morning we would stop what we were doing to watch her reaction. As soon as Charlotte heard the opening song her eyes would get big and she would look at us…then back to the tv…then at us again. It was as if she was saying…”Mom and Dad!! Do you see this!?” She loved it. LOVED it. She would actually sit and giggle at the silly animals and at all of the noises they were making.  So super cute!

On Easter this year, the Easter Bunny brought Charlotte her very own Timmy doll! You squeezed his hand and he would make all of the same noises that the little lamb on the cartoon did. And just like the cartoon, Charlotte loved it…and every morning she would hold him while she watched his shenanigans on TV.

She loved to SHARE Timmy, too.  I'm pretty sure it was because she couldn't squeeze hard enough to make sound come out.

She loved that annoying little lamb. And because of that, we loved him too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What's In a Name?

Picking out a name for your child can be stressful.  Its very permanent!

Matt and I, like many expecting parents debated on the perfect name for quite some time. We compiled a list to which names were constantly added and eliminated.  It had to be just right...nothing less than perfect for our special little girl.  

On our 1st wedding anniversary we were on our way to dinner and I made the decision that by the end of the night we were going to have a name.  At that point I believe we had narrowed it down to two and I just wanted to make the decision.  Then out of Matt's mouth came the words "I don't think that either of those names are right."  WHAT!?!  NEITHER OF THEM!?!? 

Scratch that....back to square one.  After all of the list making and hem-hawing, we had now successfully eliminated all of our ideas.

The crazy thing is, that same night over dinner we made our decision.  It just came to us and felt right from the minute it rolled off our tongues for the first time.  It wasn't a name that had been on our list, but we knew that we had hit the jackpot with Charlotte Delene Ritchie.  

Charlotte = Matt's Great Grandma
Delene = Matt's Grandma


At one point during my pregnancy Matt referred to our perfect little Charlotte as "Chuck."  I'm pretty sure that the glare I gave him at that moment could have burned a hole through his head.  I politely/sternly let him know that he was NOT to do it again.  

Our little girl was NOT going to be known as "Chuck."

Remember this picture?

I had left Matt and Charlotte at home alone for 2 hours and I came back to see her sporting Packer colors and a football shirt.  I called her Chuck that whole afternoon.

Ah, crap....I admit...I called her Chuck all of the time.  Really.    

Sorry for scolding you Matt.  

I love my little Chuckles.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anxiety Much?

I promised myself that I would always be honest here, so here goes...a sneak peak into my crazy side.

There I was, walking through the grocery store, when my phone rang.   It was Matt.  No big deal (not that you aren't a big deal, honey.  I promise you are a big deal.)  The conversation went kind of as follows...

Me:  Hey do we have flour?
Matt:  Yup.
Me:  Do we have sugar?
Matt: Yup.
Me:  How about brown sugar?
Matt:  Nope, no brown sugar.
Both of us:  Blah blah blah....
Matt:  Well, I got stung by a wasp for the first time ever.  Apparently I'm not allergic to them.
Me:  What?!  You got stung?!
Matt:  Yeah.  It sucked.  Will you see if they sell wasp spray at Hy-Vee?

Conversation over.  I finished my shopping and then made my way toward home.

As I pulled into the neighborhood all of a sudden I thought about the comment "Apparently I'm not allergic to them."  My mind started to go to places that I never would have imagined.  What if he WAS allergic to them?  What if it was a delayed reaction?  What if he wasn't ok?  He'd never been stung before...we had no way of knowing.  I prayed as I drove.  I knew I was being crazy, but I couldn't help it.

I walked into the house and announced that I was answer.  
I said his name a few extra answer.
My heart raced as I made my way up the stairs two at a time.

There he was, putting away laundry in our closet.  He hadn't fallen victim to anaphylactic shock from a wasp sting.  He was ok.  He was alive.

I cried.  

What the heck had just happened?  Why did I freak over something so incredibly ridiculous?  Its never happened before.  I hope it never happens again.

Its crazy what losing a child will do to you.

Sigh...deep breath...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I thought I would write a quick update to let you all know how "Books for Charley" is going.  Let me start by saying THANK YOU to all of you that have participated by buying books, donating money to go toward books and spreading the word to help us make this event a success.  I don't really know WHAT I expected to come of this whole thing, but the response we've seen 100% blows me away.  

  • As of Friday, Tara had received 223 books.  Thats a lot of books in only TWO weeks!  
  • In those same 2 weeks, a fellow heart mom from Michigan raised enough money to purchase 110 books!   Wow, Team Aly Jean!  You guys are AWESOME!  
  • A few heart families in the Omaha area have decided to throw "Books for Charley" birthday parties for their kiddos, just like the idea of Tara's that started this whole fundraiser.  Not only that, but a heart family from South Carolina is doing the same!  Seriously?!  WOW!  I have no words.
  • The other day I stopped by to visit our old daycare family.  As soon as I walked in I noticed that on the dry erase board where I always used to see "Charlotte needs diapers" I now found "Books for Charley!"  Rich, Sylvia and all of the little kiddos at daycare loved...and still do LOVE Baby Charlotte!  
  • Right now there are 55 books in the back of my car, with many more scheduled to come our direction!
  • In a week my mom is heading to Harlan and will be picking up books that my aunt has been collecting.  Rumor has it that there has been quite the turn out!
  • My sisters have been collecting books from friends and just never stops!
See what I mean!?!?!  ABSOLUTE CRAZINESS!  

The plan is still to make a delivery to Children's sometime in August.  I'm actually going to head to Omaha and go with Tara for the big drop-off.  It will undoubtedly be a hard eyes well up with tears almost every time I even drive past the hospital...but I know I'll have a little angel helping me through.


(Haha...I just re-read this post and noticed how many "!!!" I used.  I must be pretty excited!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Its a BIRD! Its a PLANE!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines HERO as the following:

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b : an illustrious warrior
c : a man admired for his achievements and nobel qualities
d : one who shows great courage

Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure that they just described a Heart kiddo!  
There is one problem though....most heroes wear capes!  That seems like a pretty easy problem to fix.

Enter....Heart Heroes.

Heart Heroes is an organization that recognizes heart warriors like Charlotte for the heroes that they are.  They understand that while these kiddos laugh, play and enjoy life just like any other child, they have "super powers" that carry them through life-saving operations, countless hours in doctor's offices, pokes, prods and everything else a child shouldn't have to experience.  Heart Heroes rounds out the superhero exterior by providing capes to children with congenital heart disease in hopes that they will feel invincible!

This weekend I was HONORED to be a part of the Heart Heroes fashion show in Omaha.  This event accomplished 3 huge goals.  1) To give these little heroes the chance to strut their stuff in their incredible capes  2) To raise awareness for congenital heart disease among new and expecting parents and 3) to raise money so that they can continue to donate capes to all of the heart heroes out there.

Since we happened to be in town the weekend of the big show, one of the Heart Hero moms asked if I would want to take part in the event.  Lucky for me I had a few of Charlotte's biggest supporters along to help out with the actual "modeling" part and a HUGE group of supporters in the crowd!  Thank you HEART HEROES for including us in this special day and for helping us honor our own little hero.

Aubrey sporting her new cape!  They gave this to her in memory of Charlotte.  It has two hearts on the to represent Aubrey and the other one Charlotte.

Check out Heart Heroes at 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The 14th 14th


It's been fourteen whole months since we first laid our eyes on you, our perfect little girl, for the very first time. It was a day I will never forget…not in a million years. Since that day we have celebrated (even if just a little) on the 14th of ever month, knowing that every month (every day for that matter) was an incredible blessing. Each month we took your picture in your little polk-a-dot chair and then would “oooo” and “ahhh” over how much you had changed since the last. It has only been 45 days since you went to be with Jesus, yet I’m sure that in those 45 days you would have grown so much. It would be a lie if I told you that that didn’t make Mommy sad.

I know that you are probably looking down at me right now from your party in Heaven wondering why I’m crying on the 14th when it is supposed to be such a happy day. Well, baby girl…in all honesty and simplicity, I’m crying because I’m sad. Sad that I don’t get to hold you in my arms while I wish you a happy 14th month. Sad that we have now gone two 14ths without chair pictures. Sad that this is going to be the case month after month after month. And while I’m sad, I know that you are having so much fun in Heaven celebrating today with Jesus. I’m guessing his parties are WAY cooler than any that I could ever dream up! Daddy and I will be blowing you lots of kisses today, so keep an eye out for them!

I love you Miss Charlotte, beyond words or explanation.


Monday, July 11, 2011

A Heart So Big

A few weeks ago I shared the lyrics to Coldplay's song "Fix You" that was played at Charlotte's memorial service.  I thought today that I would share just a line from the other song we played.  The whole song is great, but this line just seemed perfect.

And if you were with me tonight,
I'd sing to you just one more time.
A song for a heart so big,
God couldn't let it live.
May angels lead you in.

Jimmy Eat World
"May Angels Lead You In"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Crazy Lady With a Cart

I'm continuing to put one foot in front of the other these days.  I pull myself out of bed every morning, successfully eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, can look people in the eyes...I make it through each day.  Yes, my mind is distant.   Yes, I think of Charlotte constantly.  Yes, I cry multiple times a day.  I think thats to be expected.

What I hate are the bad times that just come out of nowhere at the most unexpected times.  I will be half way through a perfectly "good" day when some magical switch is flipped and I find myself on the verge of tears.  Yesterday it was while waiting in line at the bank, today it was at the grocery store.  I paced through the aisles with blurry eyes and mindlessly grabbed the items on our list...without that list I'm pretty sure I would have come home with nothing.  I didn't want to shop, instead I just wanted to ram into everyone with my cart and scream.  Its hard to do "normal" things when you feel like your heart is going to explode.  I fought for my composure and wiped away my tears.  Its not normal to cry in a grocery store.  People look at you like you are crazy.  If they only knew.

So while I'm expected, I'm unpredictable.  

I miss my little girl.  I miss her crazy hair.  I miss her goofy little grin and her goofy belly laugh. 

Sigh....I miss her so much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Books for Charley

Wow!  Two posts in one day??  There must be some pretty important things going on in our world!  To those of you on Facebook this post may be "old news" but I wanted to share here as well because I am so super excited.

Last week I got an email from my cousin Tara that found me covered in goosebumps and with eyes full of tears before I was even two full sentences into it.  These weren't sad tears (for once!) but rather tears that resulted from a first-hand encounter with the generosity of others.  

Tara's message started out as follows...

"Ever since I heard about Charlotte earning her wings, I knew that I wanted to do something to honor her.  A couple of weeks ago I was at Borders buying a book and at the counter they asked me if I wanted to purchase a children's book for Children's Hospital.  I did it in honor of your little girl, but that wasn't enough."

Wasn't enough?  Where was she going with this?!  

She continued to tell me about an idea to take that simple book donation to a whole new level.  

Tara has 2 beautiful little girls who both celebrate summer birthdays.  For their party this year, they are asking that their guests each bring a book or 2 in place of gifts.  These books will then be given to Children's Hospital in memory of our little girl.  Wow--how cool is that?

As if the above wasn't awesome enough, Tara also turned her idea into a Facebook event entitled "Books for Charley."  This means that whoever you are, where ever you are, you are able to participate!  If you are on Facebook, just search for Books for Charley!  If you aren't on Facebook and are interested in donating an infant/children's book, please let me know and we can figure out a mailing/drop-off plan! 

As of right this very second, 185 people have stepped forward to take part in this event.  HOLY COW!  185 people?!   I mean, HOW INCREDIBLE IS THAT?!  They might have to build the Charlotte D. Ritchie Memorial Library!  

Each book donated will get a special little sticker to honor Charley before making its way to the kiddos at Children's.  We are so thrilled that Tara is not only helping us honor Charlotte, but is also helping us give back to the hospital that allowed us to have one precious year together.

Charlotte may have only been with us for a short time, but it is becoming quite clear to us just how many people her story has touched...its actually quite overwhelming.  While our hearts continue to ache, Matt and I realize how blessed we were to be her Mommy and Daddy and fully intend to continue giving our little girl purpose in this world.  

We love you Bear, always and forever.

Happy Holidays and a Quick Update

Happy Day After the 4th of July! I hope that you all had a happy and safe holiday. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels like the days passed way too quickly! Matt and I spent the weekend back in Omaha with family. You know that it’s going to be a fun day when there is a bounce house, dunk tank and “Minute to Win It” games involved. Have I ever mentioned that I love my family?  Many thanks to Alyson and JR for hosting!  

Speaking of family…I’ve had a couple of people ask about how my cousin’s son Luke is doing. SO sorry that I didn’t update you all after my initial prayer request. Well, I’m happy to say that Luke and his family are back in Omaha and doing great. He was at our 4th of July celebration and you would never guess that there was anything wrong. He will complete 6 weeks of antibiotics and then they will take him to surgery to remove his ruptured appendix.  Thank you all for sending extra prayers for Luke and his family.