Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Popsicles

We have been enjoying some unseasonably warm temperatures here in South Dakota this March.  Warm weather means lots of outdoor time, grilling and POPSICLES...yes, popsicles!  I found some Edy's Fruit Bars at the store and am IN LOVE with them!  

Did you know that Charlotte liked popsicles?  Every time that I eat one I think of her.

Yes, I told her that Mommy had to hold the popsicle.  
Yes, I was a total push over and gave it to her anyway.
Yes, my popsicle ended up on the floor (none to my surprise)

It was all totally worth it to see how happy it made her.

Here's to SPRING and a jump start on popsicle season!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Silly Little Worries

I’m rapidly approaching 26 weeks pregnant…that means only 14 weeks left until this little man shows his adorable little face. While 99.9% of me cannot wait for that moment, there is 0.1% of me that is extremely anxious. And let me tell you, 0.1% is sometimes enough to make it hard to breathe.

Before having Charlotte I was scared…and rightfully so, I think. I was a first time mom who wasn’t 100% confident in my abilities to care for a HEALTHY baby and here I was trying to wrap my brain around what it would mean to be a Mama to a baby with HALF OF A HEART! I felt so helpless and out of control in a world where there were so many BIG and SCARY things looming ahead of us.

I feel very different this time around.
My fear has been replaced with something new.

Why so anxious? Well…it’s really quite simple.

Having a baby in Sioux Falls means having a baby at the hospital where our lives were shaken to the core…riding the same elevator, walking the same halls, smelling the same smells…

I have written about my “hospital anxiety” before. Remember the time I got brave enough to step foot on the 3rd floor, only to be knocked off my feet as a code blue sounded overhead? Since that day I haven’t had the courage to go back. I can go to the pharmacy since it’s tucked safely away in the basement…but even then I walk outside, unable to muster up the courage to take the route through the hospital. Lucky for me it was a mild winter. Just today I found myself walking from one building to the next, my hood tightly tied around my face, in the pouring rain. Any sane person would have taken the sheltered route…heck, that’s the way I wanted to go…but I JUST COULDN’T DO IT.

So now here I am, stuck in a very strange place--excitedly awaiting the arrival of Mister Mister, but paralyzed at the thought of walking into the building where it will all take place. I know that it will be fine and that this is nothing compared to what we faced before, but its hard all the same.

A place full of heartache will temporarily become a place of celebration.

I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And Tonight...We Cried

Grief is a crazy thing.  Just when I think I've got it all figured out, I realize that I couldn't be more wrong.  

The tears that at one point in time came daily have long since spread themselves out.  Sometimes I go days...sometimes weeks without tears.  It doesn't mean I don't miss her.  It doesn't mean that I don't hurt. It doesn't mean anything other than that I'm slowly re-learning how to function and to feel happy.  

Then there are days like today where everything catches up with you.  

Days where I don't want to be strong.  Days where I just feel defeated.  Days where all that I want is for Matt to hold me and let me cry.

Thats exactly what we did.

We cried.

Cried because we miss our little girl.

Cried because it hurts like hell.

Cried because every song on the radio reminds us of her.

Cried because of the reality that our family will never be least not here on Earth.

Cried because we will never have a "Big Sister" picture with Charlotte awkwardly balancing her little baby brother on her lap.

Cried because the details...every last freakin' detail...of that day have started to creep into my mind more frequently.  Then cried some more because those details make me physically sick.

Cried because of all of the "stroller-less" walks that I have taken in the past week.

Cried because I gave away a tote full of 12 month clothes that still had tags on them.  Clothes with no memories attached to them except for the picture perfect image I have of them hanging in Charlotte's closet.  

Cried because I want my little girl back.

Cried because I wanted to...needed to...

And after I had left adequate tear marks on the chest of Matt's t-shirt, I dried my eyes, pulled myself together and helped Matt with dinner.  

Sometimes you just need a good cry.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Natural Born Bluejay Fan

Just a super quick post to say GO JAYS!  Creighton plays their opening round NCAA Tournament game this afternoon and we're cheering them on in hopes for a round 2 game later this weekend.  Unfortunately, I am scheduled to teach this afternoon (BOO!) and my lecture falls at the exact same time as the game meaning that I won't get to watch...but I'm sporting my Creighton Blue and will likely be inappropriately checking the score on my phone throughout the class! 

Miss Charlotte was a Creighton Bluejay's fan right from the beginning! 
I'm guessing that in this picture she was having a dream that she was at a Creighton game and was doing 'the wave.'
 These socks make me smile...

Hope that you all have an awesome weekend and that the weather is as good where you are as it has been here lately.  Hard to believe that its been 70 degrees or above all South March!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Baby Bumpin' {24 weeks}

24 weeks….WOWZA! When did that happen?

Things just keep on truckin’ away here. I’m feeling great (though starting feel a little more awkward!) and really don’t have much to complain of. I will say that I feel a lot more tired during this pregnancy, but I’m not sure if its baby-growing-related or just due to the fact that I haven’t been the greatest sleeper in general since last summer. If you were a fly on our wall you would probably get a good laugh watching me putting my socks on in the morning or Matt giving me the occasional boost off of the couch. By no means am I claiming to be crazy big at this point, but I’m starting to remember how much more “difficult” even the simple things become.

As for my monthly picture…I wanted to get a true comparison of my bump this time around versus when I was 24 weeks with Charlotte. What’s the best way to do that, you might ask? To wear the same shirt today that I did 2 years ago this day! (Yes…I realize that I’m a giant dork.) Anyway….here you go!

24 weeks with Chuck D. (I promise that this is the last headless picture!)

24 weeks with Mister Mister
Eek!  Maybe THIS is why I did it headless last time!  I look like one tired mama!

What do you think? Same? Bigger this go-round?  Higher? Time to get a new shirt?  Does my butt look bigger?  (You don't have to answer that!)

If you look at all of the crazy baby websites out there they will tell you that this little guy is approximately the length of an ear of corn or a foot-long Chicago dog....Lets just say he's a foot-long corn dog and call it good.  I can hardly wait to eat him up snuggle with him!

There you have it-- A quick update and some visual proof that there is, indeed, a little monster growing away in there. I have my 24 week check-up tomorrow and am hoping that it’s uneventful as always. The ice cream place near our house did open up this past week…so we’ll see what the old scale has to report!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lord Help Me...I'm 30...

Little Miss Ritchie has a nice ring to it, but today I'm thinking about renaming the blog The Diary of an "Old" Crazy Lady.

-Old because I have officially entered the land of 30 year olds
-Crazy because as birthday wishes filled my inbox I found myself laughing one minute and in tears the next!

This birthday (or rather the days leading up to it) has been more difficult than I really anticipated.  I've been riding an emotional roller coaster for the past week or so and really wasn't prepared for it.  I would be totally fine one minute, and the next I would be all depressed, lying on the couch in the dark or hardly able to get words out of my mouth without bursting into tears.  Its been quite exhausting!  I initially blamed it on my whack-a-doo pregnancy hormones, but this weekend I made the connection to my big birthday milestone.  Its hard to explain - I'm not even going to try - but what it boils down to is that even "Happy" birthdays feel a little less happy without Charlotte here to brighten them.

So....this morning my alarm sounded and I welcomed in my 30s.  It could have been a ho-hum day, but thanks to ALL OF YOU, it really was a great day.

1 - I woke up this morning to an empty bed.  I initially thought that Matt had acted on his words and left me to find a "younger" model (I love you, babe) and ran off in the middle of the night, but it turns out that he had just snuck out to get me some Starbucks and some cinnamon rolls.  Pretty hard to beat that start!  

2 - All day long I received birthday wishes from friends and family...its amazing what a simple "Happy Birthday" message can do to a person's spirits.  People took the time out of their day to wish me a good day, even if it was only for a minute.  Thanks to all of you!

3 - I've always known that I work with some wonderful people, but today a group of my pharmacy co-workers surprised me with pizza and some yummy goodies.  They totally caught me off guard and I hope that they realize how much I appreciated it!  Huge thanks to them for pulling it all together and for some even coming in on their day off to wish me a happy day.  This group has been by my side through some pretty stressful and crappy times and I am so fortunate to have them in my life!  I don't think that everyone can say that about the people they work with!

4 - Mr. Matt wrapped up the day by bringing me home some Juice Stop, my newest pregnancy craving.  Mmmmmmm...

5 - I finally figured out how to transfer all of my pictures/videos from my old phone to my computer.  It has been sitting here just waiting for me to work on it for a few months, but today I finally got everything moved over.  My motivation?  I wanted to watch a video that I took on my phone LAST YEAR on my birthday.  Matt was playing in his Sunday volleyball league and I was at home with Charlotte, who had recently been discharged from the hospital (RSV).  We wanted to send her Daddy a message to let him know that we missed him!  Just hearing her little voice again was the ultimate gift!

So again, thank you all for making my birthday a special one.  Whether through a phone call, Facebook message or email...each birthday wish helped me through what could have been a very mopey day.  Biggest thanks to my hubby for sticking beside this "old" lady even when my crazy phases move in!

I think my thirties are off to a pretty good start.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Little Miss Muscles

In her short year here on Earth, Charlotte had approximately 14 billion pictures taken of her.  At the time I didn't realize how important those pictures would become and I am SO grateful for each and every one of them.  I love looking back through them and reflecting on all of the special moments that we had together...even though a majority of the time I end up sitting at the computer in a puddle of tears.

Every once in a while I will get an email from someone containing a picture that I have never seen before.  

I can't even describe how it feels to see a "NEW" picture of our little girl...

Last night while we were at dinner one such email popped into my inbox courtesy of the Queen of Picture Taking  (Charlotte's NamNam, Mary).   

Subject:  Oh yeah, look at my muscles!

I don't use the term LOL very often ever, but the minute this picture popped up on my phone I literally laughed out loud.  Seriously!  How cute is that little muscle lady!?!  I like to picture her saying something like "Take that CHD, I'll kick your butt!" or "You mess with my little brother, YOU MESS WITH ME!"

Oh baby girl...sometimes I can't even wrap my brain around how much I love you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Healthy versus Happy

“Do you hope it’s a boy or a girl?”

I really dislike that question. I know that deep down we all have an inkling of what we would like...but it totally puts the focus on something that in the big picture simply shouldn't matter.  Matt and I have had the experience of a little girl, albeit too short, and everything about her memory makes us smile.  Now we are having a boy and couldn’t be more thrilled. It will definitely be different, but we welcome any opportunity that we are given to love a child of our own.  Sure, I would love to have another girlie some day, but my "hopes" lie somewhere different.

The canned response that typically follows the question above?

“I don't really care, as long as it’s healthy.”

Again….I'm left with mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. I pray beg and plead every day (multiple times a day for that matter) for the health of our son. I pray that he never has to experience all of the scary things that Charlotte did. I pray that he can come home from the hospital na├»ve to the world of surgery, chest tubes, wound vacs, scars…you name it.

But what IF God had chosen to give us another “unhealthy” child?

Would that have changed my mind about having this baby?

Would it make us love him any less?

Being a heart mama has made me look at life with new perspective. I’ve said it a million times on this blog, but our experiences with Charlotte, whether happy or heartbreaking, opened our eyes to the things in life that are truly important. And while health is a big one…when we think about Charlotte the thing about her that stands out the most is how HAPPY she was.

Did our love for her change when we found out about her broken heart?  Sure it did.  We didn’t love her any less though…as a matter of fact, in the span of about 2 seconds I’m pretty sure our love for her doubled, tripled, quadrupled...You get the point. We didn’t want to send her back. We didn’t change our minds about having a baby because there was something “wrong” with her. We knew that she would need us more than we could have possibly understood…and we needed her just the same.

Charlotte was handed a challenging road from the get go, yet despite it all, no one ever comments about her health. Instead they remember her being HAPPY —they remember how her grin and her big ol’ eyes could light up a room (or elicit a smile from a blog reader through the computer screen!)

She may not have been HEALTHY, but boy-oh-boy was she HAPPY.

When it comes down to it, isn't that what really matters most?