Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful 2012 {I'm a Slacker}

Since I started back at work I have to admit that I've been feeling a little overwhelmed.  I'm only working an average of about 30 hours per week, but by the time you factor in my hour and a half commute each way ...work days become pretty long.  We are usually on the road by 7:00 AM so that I can drop Harrison off at daycare and be at work by 8:30.  We get home at night by around 6:30, just in time for dinner, a little playtime and a bath before bed.  When it's all said and done, I'm ready to plop myself down on the couch and be a bum!  I don't want to pick up the house, I don't want to work on my ever-growing to-do list...

It's new.  It's a little crazy.  But it's good.  I'm sure that we will have a routine figured out soon and I'll feel a little more in control when it comes to our home life.  Until then, I'm sorry if I'm somewhat of a stranger (in real life and blog world!)

Item #1 that I have totally slacked off on?  My daily "Thankful" pictures.  First I was a day behind...then 2...then I would double up to try to get back on pace, only to fall behind again!  That's when I decided to throw in the towel.  I've still been taking some pictures though (just not daily), and thought that I would share!

Never in a million years did I think that I would say that I was thankful for Nate Dogg and Warren G... but when I was pregnant with Harrison and this song would come on it would be major dance party time. Straight up thug, right from conception :)  I'm thankful for those memories.
 Thankful that crazy Aunt Angie got to stop by for a play date on her way through town
 Thankful for the little things that can melt my heart...like the way H likes to cover his eyes when he eats!
 Thankful for the end of a work day...time to pick up my buddy!
 Thankful for coffee and Hostess Ding Dongs for breakfast.  This was my FRIST and probably LAST Ding Dong ever.
 In case you hadn't guessed by my other thankful posts....I'm super thankful for this guy.
 Thankful for the giggles and screeches that he makes when he's stripped down to his diaper.  Such a little nudist!
 Thankful for my BFF Jessy.  Not only does she surprise me at work, but she comes bearing gifts!  Only this girl can make me want to laugh and cry (good cries) all at the same time.
 I can't really complain about a morning commute when I have scenery like this.  Thankful.

So there you have it...a mish-mash of thankfuls for this last part of November.  I may not have succeeded at my goal of a daily snapshot, but that doesn't make me any less appreciative.  The truth is, I'm thankful for every day, and every opportunity, and all of the blessings that I have been given...and there's really no way to take a picture of that.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Season of Thanks

This Thanksgiving the Ritchie family made a very special appearance in the Omaha World Herald.  I was contacted a few months back by one of their writers and asked if we would be interested in sharing Charlotte's story with her, as well as some information about Charley's Heart.  I'm a pretty proud mama and will never pass up a good opportunity to talk about my little girlie!  The day that we met I talked...and talked...and talked....going on and on about Miss Charlotte for a good hour and a half.  There was laughter.  There were tears.  And what came out of it was something truly amazing.  

We knew that the article was going to run sometime around Thanksgiving, but no one in my family was quite prepared for what we saw when it came to print.  Thanksgiving day.  Front page.  My babies.  Holy cow.      

Here is the link to the online version of the article

Along with our story there was a supplement article that discussed pulse oximetry screening in newborns and provided an update on where legislation is at in both Nebraska and Iowa.  I was so happy that they included this.  

Matt and I are so incredibly thankful to Julie Anderson and the Omaha World Herald for inviting us to share our story.  It was such a beautiful reminder to us, on Thanksgiving of all days, of just how blessed we are.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful 2012 {Week 2}

I'm not quite sure how we arrived at the middle of November already, but sure enough, here we are!  Thanksgiving is only a week away and while my mind is already thinking of all of the yummy food I'm planning on devouring...my daily photos are helping me to stay focused on the things that are really important.  Here's to another week of thankfuls!

Day 8:  Thankful for the little things that most take for granted...like PINK toes!
Day 9:  Thankful that we can cross 2 more shots off the list.  
And there were no tears from EITHER of us!
 Day 10:  Thankful for Harrison's view from our rocking chair.  
 Day 11:  Thankful for first friends.
 Day 12:  Thankful for the laughter that he brings to our lives.
Day 13:  Thankful for sleepy outings, fleecy pjs, coffee for mama and a new Charley Bear ornament for our Christmas tree.  It's a good day.
 Day 14:  Thankful that her cousins know and remember.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Just recently I came across something in an online forum that was posted by another grieving heart mom.  Her family was in the process of going through her son's room...packing his things away in storage bins.  She didn't want to put them away, but at the same time was terrified that if they were left out that something might happen to them...that they would get ruined somehow.  My heart ached for her as I read phrases like "Its all I can do to even function"  and "I want to scream" and I found myself sitting in front of the computer with tears streaming down my face.  These posts are not uncommon in my world.  We have been there along with so many others.  We packed up the material reminders of our little girl...put her things in boxes knowing that there was no reason to unpack them again.  

I never posted about our packing process here on Little Miss Ritchie, but this woman's post got me thinking about it again.  Our situation was a little different...we were moving...we HAD to pack things up.  Lord knows I didn't want to... Charlotte's room had gone untouched up to that point.  Her drool stained sheets still in her crib, her dirty laundry still sitting in the closet holding on to her sweet scent. The thought of disturbing her things literally made me sick.

I don't have the emotional energy to write about it, but remembered that I had shared some of our experiences with a friend of mine.  One day she sent me a message asking how our move went.  Most times I would answer that question with a simple "It was okay"...but on that day I just needed to get it out....I needed to be honest with her and with myself.    

"Yes, packing was aweful. No fun whatsoever. I started doing it in bits and pieces...bath stuff, then books, then toys...I would talk to her the whole time about the things I was packing and promised her that even though her things were in boxes, that she was forever and ever and ever in my heart. At the rate I was going it was going to take me about 3 months to pack, so one day we just did it. I was up sitting in the rocking chair [in her room] and Matt just came in and started taking things off the wall...no talking, no nothing. We just looked at each other and knew that we had to get it over with.

Sucky suck suck suck. It was all hard but when we got down to her closet we cracked. Most of the things that were hanging there she hadn't even had the opportunity to wear because we were just getting into the warmer weather....they weren't the hard part. It was the laundry basket full of dirty clothes...the jammies she had worn the night before, the clothes that she had worn in the park on Memorial Day....sigh. They all smell like my little girl...and it breaks my heart because I know that little things like smells are the first memories to fade. I don't know if I will ever bring myself to wash them, but we folded them all neatly and stacked them back in the laundry basket. I don't know what their fate will be, but for now the whole basket is sitting by the rocking chair in our basement...soaking up basement smell and pushing out Charley smell. Gulp. My heart breaks just thinking about it. I haven't talked about that day at all...its been too hard...and now here I am sitting at the computer in tears, rambling. 

Once things were packed I was just ready to move. The night before I sat on the floor in Charlotte's empty room until about 1AM. We talked about lots of stuff and she left me pretty reassured that we are going to be ok. Never the same, but ok. I thought that I would have a breakdown the day of the move, but in the end I just took the last picture, her picture, off the wall, said goodbye to our house and drove away tear-free. It was a good house. We have lots of good memories from it. But it was time to move on." 

I'm not sure why I felt the need to post this today...I just needed to put it out there.  People need to know that there is no "RIGHT" way to handle these situations.  There is no timeline,  no rules saying what must be done and when.  When you lose a child all of the "rules" fly out the door.  No one has a right to expect things from you...that you move on...that you put on a happy face...that you go back to being the same person that you were before tragedy threatened to break you.  Whether you pack up your angels things 2 days later, 2 years later, or maybe never...its okay.  YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND NO ONE ELSE.

As for us...we've unpacked some of our boxes again now that we have Mr. Harrison.  We kept most of the "girl" specific things tucked away, but once again there are reminders of our girlie scattered around the house.  H's nursery looks very similar to his sisters, he plays with toys that used to be hers, I comb his crazy hair with the same little pink comb.  The items that are strictly "Charlotte" have found a home in a cedar chest given to us by Matt's mom.  Some day I will go through it again...but for now I'm content just knowing that her things are there.  After all, its the memories that I hold in my heart that are the most treasured.

Sigh.  My love goes out to all of you who have put your children's things into boxes.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful 2012 {Week 1}

This November Facebook, Instagram and the rest of the blog world is exploding with lots of "thankful" posts.  Last year (or maybe it was the year before) I did these posts the week leading up to Thanksgiving.  This year I decided to challenge myself a little more....instead of one week of "thankfuls" I'm going to do a whole months worth.  And rather than TELL you, I'm going to SHOW you.  I have been posting my daily photos on Instagram, but figured that I would save them up and do a weeks worth at a time here on Little Miss Ritchie.

So here you have it...week #1

Day 1:  Thankful that this little man thinks I'm pretty cool!
Day 2:  Thankful for baby boys, Bumbos and balls...and all of the excited screeching that comes along with them!
Day 3:  Thankful for reminders of Charlotte delivered right to our door.  New Charley's Heart postcards will accompany all of our RedButt deliveries!
Day 4:  Thankful for the way my kiddos look at their Daddy.
Day 5:  Thankful that my Nebraska pharmacy law notes now live in the trash can!  I PASSED!
Day 6:  Thankful for all of our monkeys (Harrison included!) and for all of you who have helped make Project RedButt possible.  Its never too late to help!
Day 7:  Thankful for evenings in the backyard with my little family.

Can't wait for my weekly posts?  Feel free to check me me out on Instagram (@klritchie)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dreaming of Home Sweet Home

Last November Matt and I purchased 3.2 acres of land in Gretna, Nebraska.  At that point we were still living and working in South Dakota and with no real timeline for when we would be moving...we just knew that we wanted it to happen.  Its crazy to think of just how many things in our lives were up in the air just one short year ago.

Since then we have moved, grown our family by one and both started new jobs.  We have laid temporary roots in a rental home, all the while dreaming of the day when we would once again have a place to call our own.  A place to call home.

Two weeks ago (after I finally found work in a tough pharmacist market) Matt and I were able to take the next steps forward and officially signed our lives away the paperwork needed to start the building process.  To say we are excited doesn't even touch our enthusiasm.  We're going to have a home again.

Tonight on our way home from Omaha we stopped by our lot and snapped a few pictures to capture some "before" pictures...  

Front corner of the lot looking back
The darker brown in the middle is where our house will sit
The view from the backyard
More of our view...I'm in love
 Mr. Matt and our sold/builder signs
 Haha...I can't ever be serious.  I'm just so stinkin' excited!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!

First smile?  Check!
First giggle.  Check!
First time sleeping through the night.  Check!

How about first HAIRCUT!?

Okay, so it wasn't really much of a haircut--more of a cautious "snip-snip" of some crazy hair that was growing over Harrison's ears.  It was weird and wavy and just looked plain old goofy.  Harrison sat  skeptically in his Bumbo while I went to work.  I quickly realized that I had no clue what I was doing or how exactly things were supposed to look when I was all finished...but we forged ahead anyway! 

His new 'do looks pretty good.....but most of all I'm just happy to report that both of his ears are still intact!  I think we'll leave his first REAL haircut to a professional!

First haircut?  Check!

Lookin' good little man!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

It was a pretty "un-Halloween-y" Halloween here this year.  We opted out of taking Harrison trick-or-treating and didn't even buy candy to hand out to the neighborhood princesses and superheroes (GASP!  I know...how dare we!?!)  Despite what might seem like a total "Bah-Humbug" attitude, we DID sport some costumes behind closed doors and captured some great memories of Harrison's first Halloween. 

Isn't he just the cutest little football you've ever seen (not to mention the stud football player)?!  Happy first Halloween little guy.  I can't wait until next year when Daddy and I get to chase you around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating!