Thursday, September 27, 2012

Missing

I miss you every day...that never changes.
Some days, though, are harder than others.
I don't know why.  I can't predict them.
All I know is that there are days where I can't shake the empty feeling.
Days where my eyes are constantly threatening to spill an endless stream of tears.

Days where I fixate on what life would be like if you were here...

Days where I just sit and stare at pictures.
I stare at them and remember how soft your skin was.
How you smelled like sunscreen that day in the park.
How expressive your eyes were.
How your smile could make every day better.


I wanted nothing more than for God to make you all better.
To heal your sick little heart.

I didn't realize then that healing yours would mean breaking ours.

I miss you, baby girl.  
Beyond words or explanation.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1, 2, 3 Months!

September 26...I'm not quite sure how we got here so quickly.  It seems like summer passed in the blink of an eye and now here we are with a THREE month old!  Mr. Harrison has grown and changed so much in the past month.  It was pretty crazy, almost like he went to bed one night as our little tiny baby and woke up with personality, a voice and some big baby leg chub!  

Here are some highlights from the past month:

This Mama is THRILLED to report that on 9/8/2012 H.P. Ritchie slept for 8 hours straight.  The very next night he slept for 10 hours, followed by 12 the next!  I haven't mentioned it sooner because I didn't want to jinx things, but after three weeks I'm pretty comfortable calling Harrison a master sleeper.  There have been a couple nights where he has gotten up at 4 AM for a quick bottle, but for the most part we don't hear from him from around 7:30 PM until the same time the next morning!  Now if only we could get this whole napping thing figured out...

Harrison was officially banned from swaddling about 3 weeks ago when I found him in his crib wearing a blanket like a scarf.  He's a little Houdini and managed to wiggle himself free no matter how tightly I would wrap him.  Very naughty, little boy!  Only three months old and already giving his Mama panic attacks.
The beginning of Fall means that there is a whole lot of football being watched in our house and Harrison got to see his first Husker and Packer football games (both wins!). It may look like he's sleeping through the Green Bay game, but I think he was just "visualizing" a win!  He told me the other day that he doesn't really care about which team wins...as long as his Mama wins her family fantasy football league.  I swear.  He really told me that.
Speaking of Fall...we've welcomed it with open arms!  Cooler temperatures mean more opportunities for evening walks (which H LOVES), playing fetch with our crazy puppies and lots of extra snuggles to keep warm when we have the windows open.  It might just be our favorite time of the year!

Holy cow is our little boy getting strong!  At his two month appointment with the pediatrician actually suggested that we try putting him in the Bumbo...just another way to keep him off of his flat head!  I thought he still seemed too little, but we gave it a shot anyway.  He's not 100% impressed with it and usually only lasts a few minutes, but he's getting better at it each time we try.  When did my baby boy get so big?!  (Yes, I know there was a Bumbo recall and that he should have a safety strap...I just haven't done it yet.  He was never out of arms reach while taking this picture and I'm always right beside him while he's in it.)
Harrison eats like a piggy champ and he's got the thighs and cheeks to prove it!  He's still in a size 1 diaper (though not for much longer) and is already fitting into some 6 month onesies!  What a change from his petite big sister.  Nickname for this month?  Chubs.  

Mr. Man has found his hands and is fascinated with them!  Just the other day I came into the living room and he was just laying on the floor staring at a hand with a puzzled look on his face!  Very curious.  I think that this discovery has played a huge role in helping him sleep through the night.  He always has one little fist tucked up by his mouth and sometimes I can hear him slurping away on the monitor.  Yay for self-soothing!

Overall, Harrison is a VERY happy baby.  As I sit here typing this I can hear him happily talking away in his crib in the next room (he's supposed to be napping).  He always has a grin on his face and rarely cries unless he's hungry or overly tired (again, he's supposed to be napping).  We would love him even if he was a colicky monster...but definitely feel blessed that he's such a content little guy!

Poor little Harrison has been subjected to LOTS of picture taking over the past 2 days.  Yesterday we had his professional pictures taken (can't wait to share!) and today I put him through 2 more rounds!  Here are a few from both!

We tried and tried to sit on the right side of the chair, but he just kept falling over!
Much happier on the left side
Drool monster!  And as you can see...his hair is crazy as ever.


 All smiles after a bath.

We love you So So So So much Harrison.  
You amaze us, entertain us and remind us of how blessed we are every single day.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cutie Pie

Nothing overly exciting to post about tonight.  I was just looking through some pictures and admiring how handsome our little boy is.  Then I thought to myself...how can I keep such a cute picture to myself?  

So here you are...a random picture.

Every day is a little brighter when I wake up to this guy.  


Monday, September 17, 2012

Hey, Hey We're the Monkeys!

Project RedButt made its big debut in November 2011 and in one short month we were able to construct and donate 25 sock monkeys to the kiddos that were "stuck" in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Omaha Children's Hospital on Christmas.  In the grand scheme of things it felt like such a small gesture, but I hoped that our little monkeys could elicit a smile or two.  

Project RedButt
(Click here for details)


I later came across an article from the Omaha World Herald and learned that Christmas Eve 2011 was an especially difficult one in the PICU.  Sick kids.  Impossible decisions.  Broken hearts.  Our monkeys can't fix those things.  They can't make life in the PICU any easier.  All I can hope is that we helped one person smile when they might not have otherwise.

Much like with our Books for Charley event, I couldn't help but think to myself "why stop there?"  Why limit Project RedButt to the PICU at Christmas time when there are so many other kiddos in need of a smile?  Lucky for us, we had some extra monkeys!  I quickly started jotting down names of heart kiddos that I knew were facing scary surgeries and hospital stays.  As their big days approached I carefully packaged up our little monkey friends and shipped them off to find new homes.  I've been working on some updates for the Charley's Heart website and can't wait for you to see some of the pictures that we got in return.  Lots of little monkeys.  Lots of smiling faces.  I call that a success!

Here's the catch...

We can't make enough monkeys for the PICU and to send to other heart kiddos all on our own.  We have a little bit of a stock pile thanks to my mom (she has monkey making down to an art!) but they will go quickly.  

Over the course of the past year we have had some pretty amazing people offer to help us out with Project RedButt.  Some were proficient sewers who breezed through the process, others (including myself) taught themselves how to use a sewing machine because they wanted to help.  That's part of what makes this so special!  No monkey ends up looking the same...yes, they are made of the same pink and brown socks, but each one is unique.  Some are very traditional and follow a set pattern, while others get "jazzed up" a little!  Imagine my surprise when we started getting monkeys like these...!


We've had ballerina monkeys, diva monkeys with crowns and boas, monkeys with belly buttons and eyebrows...even tattoos!  The possibilities are endless!

Here's where I do my best to solicit all of you "crafty" people!

As I eluded earlier, Project RedButt cannot continue without the help of others.  

-Do you know how to sew and have a desire (and the time) to help?  Even one monkey goes a long way!  

-Do you know someone who might feel the same way?  A friend?  Co-worker?  Church group?  Sewing club?

-Not up for monkey making?  How about accessorizing?  We can always put tutus, pants or other items on our otherwise "naked" friends!  Let your imaginations run wild!

-Not able to help but know of a heart kiddo that is in need of a little cheer?  We're interested in hearing from you too!  Let us know and we'll try our best to create some smiles!

If you are interested in helping or have questions about Project RedButt, please feel free to contact me at charleysheart@gmail.com.  I am more than happy to get socks to anyone who wants to join in...I can even include stuffing and buttons if you'd like.  There are a variety of monkey patterns available online...like I said, every monkey ends up a little different than the next.  (And please don't be intimidated by the monkeys pictured above...they are pretty extraordinary!) 

RedButt is just a silly little monkey.
A silly little monkey that made Charlotte smile.  
A silly little monkey that continues to make our family smile.
A silly little monkey that we hope does the same for others.

Thanks everyone!








Friday, September 14, 2012

Jibber Jabber

One day Harrison woke up from his nap and decided that enough was enough.  He was tired of keeping his opinions to himself and wanted the world to know that he had a voice.  Once he started, there was absolutely no stopping him.  My oh my does this little boy love to talk (almost as much as his Mommy and Daddy love listening to him!)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Sweet, Sweet Babies

Sometimes I will take a picture of Harrison and not realize until I have the photos loaded onto the computer just how much he looks like his big sister.  

I stare at his pictures and think to myself..."I feel like I've seen this before."  

The pose.
The unruly hair.
The big sparkling eyes.
The chubby little belly.
I see it every day...the resemblance is way to strong to go unnoticed.  Most days it makes me smile, but then there are moments where I find myself staring at Harrison and fighting back tears.  

It's a guilty feeling when my thoughts stray from him to her-- when I have him all snuggled in my arms but can only think of and cry for his sister.  I don't ever want him to feel like he's not enough.  I don't ever want him to feel like he's living in her shadow.  I don't ever want him to feel like my love for him is any less than my love for her.


I want him to know her and everything about her.
I want him to love her and to know that she is always with him.
I want him to ask about her.


I love my Harrison.
I love my Charlotte.

I love them so much it hurts.

 Oh, what this mama wouldn't do to hold both of her kiddos in her arms.






Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Game Day

Last weekend Harrison enjoyed his first of many Cornhusker football games.

Daddy got him dressed before he headed out to do a little tailgating.  I wasn't at all surprised to come home from a coffee run only to find Harrison dressed like this...
About 20 minutes later Harrison realized how silly he looked and spit up all over the front of his holey Husker shirt.  Since Daddy was already gone, we decided to take things in a little "classier" direction.  
Since Matt was out tailgating and watching the big game with a friend, Harrison, Aunt Angie and I loaded into the car and headed to Omaha to watch the game with my family.  Lets just say that Harrison missed most of the game because he was too busy soaking in all of the attention from his admirers!  

Aunt Jill, Owen and Jack
 They LOVE their little cousin!
 Hey everybody!  Look how STRONG I am!
 Checking out his Aunt Jill
Haha!  Check out that little pot belly!
 Harrison's BIGGEST admirer!
 Lukey and Harrison
 Lola checking out the baby
 Erin and Harrison

It was a fun day full of football, family and (too much) food.  I'm SO glad that we are close by and can make little day trips to enjoy these special moments.   

One Husker win in the books and hopefully another after today!  GO BIG RED!

Friday, September 7, 2012

An Okie Comes to Town

I have a list of about ten different posts that I want to do here on the blog...the list keeps on growing but I never seem to get them done.  While life isn't quite as insane as it was a few months back with the move and Harrison's arrival shortly after, there are still lots of things keeping us busy.   Today's post is one that I meant to do about 2 months ago.  As you can see, time has gotten away from me just a little bit!

One of the biggest pulls for us to move back to Nebraska was to be closer to family.  Both of our families live here and we desperately wanted for Harrison to grow up surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Well...our mission was about 99% accomplished.

What's missing, you might ask?  

Aunt Angie!

My sister Angie and her hubby Doug are currently living in Oklahoma City.  Too far away for my liking.  Too far away for Harrison's liking as well.  Heck, its too far away for everyone's liking.  While we really wish that they were closer to us and could come over and play every day, we have had to settle with a random visit here and there.  Lucky for us Aunt Angie has had a few things going on this summer that have brought her our direction.  

Earlier this summer when Angie was back for her class reunion (we'll lie and say it was her 10 year).  Mr. Harrison was only 3 weeks old!
Last weekend Aunt Angie made a SURPRISE trip back to Nebraska!  We were lucky enough to get to spend a majority of the long holiday weekend hanging out with our favorite Okie!

We love you, Aunt Angie!  The Hotel de'Ritchie always has room for you whenever you feel like dropping by.  We can't wait until Uncle Doug and Miss Pepper can make the trip back as well.  See you in October!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two Month Well-Visit

Thursday morning Harrison and I headed to Omaha for his 2 month well visit with the pediatrician.  The last time we saw her was when Harrison was 2 weeks old and at that point he was still a tiny little peanut--below his birth weight and a touch yellow from his jaundice.  I was anxious to get him back there to show off how BIG and STRONG he is just a month and a half later.  Harrison tipped the scales at 11 pounds 12 ounces (45-50%) and was 22.5 inches long (35%).  That's almost 4 pounds in less than 2 months!  Good job baby boy!  

Everything else checked out really well.  The pediatrician didn't seem concerned about his head preference or the flat spot that he has developed because of it.  Apparently the muscles on one side of his neck felt a little tight, but not to the point of needing any intervention.  She told us that if we keep doing lots of tummy time and encouraging him to look the other way that he should loosen up and "round out" in no time.  

The heart mama in me always makes sure that they take a nice long listen to his little ticker.  Everything continues to sound beautiful (no murmurs) and I was reassured (again) that he has a healthy heart.  I wonder if I will ever get to the point where I quit asking...

The 2 month appointment held something "new" for this mama...immunizations.  Don't get me wrong...I'm 100% in support of having your children vaccinated, but because of Charlotte's heart condition we were forced onto a slightly different schedule.  Vaccines = immune response = fevers = extra stress on an already fragile heart!  Other than her monthly Synagis (RSV) injections and a seasonal flu shot, she didn't have any immunizations until after her second surgery around 9 months old.  By that time she was pretty used to getting poked on a daily basis and shots were a walk in the park (well, maybe not a walk in the park, I'm not THAT cold hearted!).  I often wondered how I would handle a healthy child getting shots...would our previous experiences make me stronger?  Or would I become a blithering idiot and have flashbacks of all of the times my first born had that same scared, tearful face.  I honestly didn't know...until Thursday.

Surprise, surprise...as soon as the word "immunization" was mentioned my eyes filled up with tears.  Yup.  Big old tears.  It caught me a little off guard!  I mean, the needles weren't even in the room yet!  I quickly blinked away my tears and directed all attention toward my little man.  When the nurse came back into the room with her mean little tray of vials and needles I reluctantly laid him back on the exam table and snuggled my face close with his, whispering lots of loves into his ear.  I'm not sure I was prepared for where my thoughts went next.  My physical self was standing in a doctors office in Omaha with Harrison, but my mind instantly went back to the lab in Sioux Falls where we always went to have Charlotte's blood drawn.  I always did the same thing to her...snuggled in close, letting her know how brave I thought she was.  It was like I could feel my forehead pressed gently against her temple...her skin all warm and sweaty against mine as she cried.  I could taste her sweaty tears as I gently kissed them away.  That day with Harrison was total deja vu.  Same sweaty forehead.  Same salty tears.  Same loving words.  Same heart broken Mommy.  You can bet that Harrison got lots of lovin' when it was all said and done!  He needed it -- poor guy felt pretty crumby that night and the following day.

All in all it was a very good appointment.  Our little boy is healthy and happy and we are so incredibly grateful.