Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Today our family is celebrating Easter in our typical, laid back fashion.  Matt worked this morning, but was able to meet up with Harrison and I after church for breakfast and a quick trip to Lowes.  It is a beautiful spring day in Nebraska and we are doing our best to soak it all in, all the while keeping the true significance of this day close to our hearts.  

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40)

This Easter we celebrate with gracious hearts, trusting in the promises of resurrection and knowing that someday we will be reunited with our sweet Charlotte.    

Happy Easter from our family to yours.  
The Easter Bunny stopped by our house while we were at church.  
He/She obviously knows Matt pretty well!
 None to my surprise, he started throwing things almost immediately.  
 "Hey Maybe, I'll share some treats with you if you help me open this bag." 


Nine, Nine, You're So Fine

Holy Moly, baby boy!  Nine months?!  Has it really been nine months?  Now, more than ever, you have been showing us bits and pieces of what Harrison the "big boy" is going nto look like...and while I love seeing you change and grow, my heart is a little sad that we're leaving so many "baby" things behind. 

You're eating a combination of baby food and table food...but are quickly realizing that table food is much more fun!  I'm pretty sure that the mashed potatoes you ate the other night totally blew your mind.  Other recent favorites?  Peas, pears, chicken, noodles with sauce or "saucy spirals" as daddy calls them and yogurt melts.  And the great thing is...most of it actually ends up in your mouth!
You have a slight obsession with throwing things.  It all started with a simple game of "catch" with daddy.  Now you not only throw the ball, but also blocks, books, rattles, mommy's hands...basically anything that you can get your little mits on!

We'll find out your official 9 month weight at your appointment with Dr. Whitcomb on Monday...but for now I'll just refer to you as a little bit chubby.  You're big 'ol belly totally cracks me up!  Most of your clothes are a size 12 mo, but we've actually had to go above and beyond that for a few things! 

You're even starting to SIT like a big boy.  Gone are the days where you need wide-spread legs to help support your wobbly body...now you most content with your little feet crossed at the ankles.  So.Stinking.Cute.
One of the biggest "big boy" changes that's taken place this past months is your increased mobility.  You aren't officially crawling (though you can get up on your hands and knees) but you still get around with relative ease.  You roll across the floor in the blink of an eye and can spin yourself around 360 degrees with no problem.  I have a feeling that life is about to get a whole lot busier in the Ritchie house!

I left the room for 30 seconds and came back to find him under a basket and diapers everywhere.  He looks pretty proud of himself, huh?!
The transition to toddler-hood is looming near...and while a part of me is fighting it, my heart is happy to see our healthy little boy thriving, growing and learning new things.  Matt and I are about to venture into territory that we never experienced with Charlotte, despite the fact that she was older than him...that's definitely hard to swallow.  From here on out we're flying by the seat of our pants, soaking in each milestone and welcoming a whole world of "new."

Happy 9 months baby boy!  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Make Way for Duck Face

A few weeks back I sent a very random message out to some friends and family asking them their definition of "duck face."  They were encouraged to reply with either a standard text definition, picture or a combination of the two.  I wasn't quite sure what type of a response I would get, but I was optimistic that there would be some laughter involved. 

Duck face:  A face that insecure girls make to try to get attention.

Duck face:  The perking of the lips in a photo to make a woman appear to A) have lip implants B) be really cool C) be scrunching her nose to loosen boogers without the use of her hands.
This duck face picture was taken on a cell phone and never sent to me....until I got my hands on said phone and sent it myself!  Maybe my favorite.  (love you, Jilly!)
Like mother, like son...the Musil family knows how to rock the duck!
Sweet Pepper prefers sniffing a duck's face versus making duck face.
And Reggie like to put a little tongue in it.
I got one response with a picture of Herman "Duck" Phillips from Mad Men.
Technically speaking, I supose this counts as duck face.
Then there's the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue in the Boston Public Garden.  It has lots of little duck faces!
My brother-in-laws response made me feel a little nauseous...a bad plastic surgery duck face.  He kindly included 5 or 6 different examples, but I love you all too much to put you through that.
While all of these definitions are true in their own right, there is one little duck face that we have been seeing around the house quite a bit lately...

Harry and his girl friend Molly, duck face officionados.
He does this when something scares him (Grandma Debbie nailed that definition on the head!), when he's practicing blowing raspberries, and sometimes just at random times throughout the day.

Holy cow, he cracks me up.
 Harrison "Duck Face" Ritchie
 I fear he's turning into an insecure girl trying to get attention....
or maybe he just had a booger.
Either way...We love our little duck face!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bonzo Loronzo

It seems like forever ago that I took this picture of Harrison and I in the hospital.  He was a brand new, squishy baby boy and his little peanut body fit perfectly in the crook of my arm.  These days I'm more accustomed to toting around a squirmy 20+ pound monster and the days of an itty-bitty baby seem so far gone. 

While I'm not 100% sure that I'm ready to succumb to baby fever quite yet...I can't deny the fact that I miss those newborn baby snuggles.  Lucky for me, Matt's sister Kristen and her hubby Zac just welcomed a sweet baby boy into the world and I was able to get my fix through them!

Meet my newest little buddy, Benson Hal Lorenzen!
Benson was born last Tuesday, March 19th.  He took his sweet time getting here and as a result had to spend a few days in the NICU for observation.  He proved to be a total rockstar and I'm happy to say that he is now home and doing FANTASTIC!

Last Saturday our family FINALLY had the chance to meet Mr. Benson.  This mama got some much anticipated baby snuggles and Harrison got to meet his future partner in crime!  I have a feeling that we are going to have our hands full with these two!  I'm guessing that Harrison will have some some pretty cool things that he'll want to teach Benson (and a few naughty things as well!)
Our not-so-little Harrison checking out his new cousin.  My heart overflows when I think about them growing up together, only 9 months apart.  Reason #1,000 why coming back to Nebraska was the right choice for our family...
"Be gentle, buddy"
Welcome to the world, sweet Benson.  It feels like we waited so long to finally meet you and we are so excited to watch you grow.  We love you with all our hearts...



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bluejay Madness 2013

It's been a busy weekend for the Ritchies....one full of basketball watching, new baby snuggling and birthday celebrating.  It's been one of those weekends where we just can't help but smile and count our blessings.

After being on the move both Friday and Saturday, we were able to have a nice quiet Sunday at home. We made a yummy breakfast, caught up on some things around the house and had lots of playtime.  Now we're getting ready to put on our game faces and cheer on our Creighton Bluejays as they play Duke in the 3rd round of the NCAA tournament.  

GO BLUEJAYS!!!

Practicing his ball handling skills...maybe we've got a future Bluejay on our hands??
Lots of smiles during our pre-bedtime, pre-game celebration.  He loves the rock that his buddy Laura painted for Charley's Garden...so much so that he was giving it kisses before the big game on Friday!  THANKS Laura!
H was a little bummed when I told him that he couldn't stay up to watch the game.  Sorry bubba, bedtime is bedtime!  I promise we'll cheer extra hard for you!

A nice Jesuit university going up against a team called the "Blue Devils"??  Come on...this one seems a little too obvious!

GO BLUEJAYS!!!



Friday, March 22, 2013

C Is For Cookie

Aunt Angie comes to town and all rules go out the door.  Harrison is spending the day with her and I can already tell that he's having too much lots of fun!

Earlier this morning I got a text from my sis asking "Can he have a small nibble of a chocolate chip cookie?"

About 2 seconds after I gave the okay...I got another message...

"Whew!  I was hoping you'd say okay!"


Hmmmm....something tells me that the cookie fiasco started BEFORE permission was granted.  And is it just me or does the evidence paint a picture different than a "small nibble??" 

Oh how I love my sweet  rolley-polley chocolate-face little boy! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Green Beer Here

Happy St. Patrick's Day from two adorable little leprechauns...
...neither of whom look overly excited to play dress-up!

Charlotte March 17, 2011
Harrison March 17, 2013

You can't see it very well in this picture, but there is a little red heart on his suspenders.  His sister is with him every where he goes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stupid Snow

It has been a while since my last anxiety post. That’s a good thing. Maybe I’m learning to cope a little better? Maybe the triggers have become less and less? Either way, I’m thankful that I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time. As always, I am always a little self-conscious when it comes to putting this part of myself on display...but it’s who I am, and it is what it is.

The trigger this time around? A good ol’ Nebraska snow storm.

It snowed all day Sunday. The first flakes melted against the warm ground, creating a nice base of ice under the inches that eventually accumulated. It was blowing snow when I woke up. It was blowing snow long after I fell asleep. I was thankful that we got to stay inside (in our pjs!) ALL.DAY.LONG.

All was good until last night as we all settled down for bed.

Matt told me to drive carefully in the morning...adding that H and I are his “most precious cargo.”

Harrison was over tired and struggled with sleep. I laid him in his crib and he instantly started crying (totally not like him at bedtime). I rocked him. He played for a while. Again I put him down, and again there were tears. And tears. And tears. Finally I made him a small bottle hoping it would push him over the edge into the sleep that he so much needed.

Two ounces later and I found myself sitting on the floor in the dark with a snuggly little boy sound asleep in my arms. I was ready to move him to his crib when my brain turned on me.

The weather outside was bad and I had to drive in the morning.
Matt called us his most precious cargo. What would he do if something happened to us?
Harrison wanted his mama. Was I being given one last opportunity for snuggles?
Something was going to happen. Something I had no control over.
I knew it.

For the next who knows how long, I sat there...baby in arms...lump in throat...pit in stomach.

Later I checked out all of the interstate webcams online. Then I checked the weather 20 times. Then I went to bed and stared at the ceiling for awhile.

I knew I was being ridiculous. I knew that we would be okay. But I just couldn’t shake it.

Eventually I fell asleep to an re-run of Law & Order.
I woke up this morning (anxiety-free) and drove to Omaha with Harrison in tow.
I counted 58 vehicles that had gone off of the road yesterday/overnight....none of which was mine.

Anxiety sucks.

Here’s to another long stretch without one of these posts.

(And yes...I just wrote this from work.  Cold weather and Omaha kids at home from school apparently makes for a quiet day at the pharmacy!)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Updates Galore!

Last week I was sweetly reminded by one of my cousins that there are a few things that I've neglected to post on the blog. (Thanks, Erin!  I needed a little motivation!)  I figured that it was time for a hodge podge post to get everyone up to speed!

1.  I turned 31.  Or as I like to say, I celebrated the 10 year anniversary being able to order a beer with dinner (legally speaking)!  Matt asked me if I wanted to do some shots to celebrate said anniversary...I politely declined!  This old lady can't handle that kind of craziness!

2.  There haven't been a whole lot of house pictures to share lately, mostly because the things that they are working on aren't all that exciting!  Necessary, yes, but not things that I feel like I need to be snapping pictures of!  Unless you really want to see pictures of plumbing, HVAC and electrical work??  While they have been working away on the "innards" of our home, Matt and I have been keeping busy picking out all of the cosmetic finishes...cabinets, flooring, lighting...you name it!  I can't wait to see how everything comes together!

3.  If any of you need some prescriptions filled, I hear that there is a cute little brunette who works at the U-Save pharmacy at 168th and Harrison (Omaha)!  Yup...I got a new job.  The one that I had previously was super part-time and unless there was someone on vacation/maternity leave, I just wasn't getting enough hours.  U-Save was able to offer me more consistent hours (~60 every 2 weeks), a consistent location (Hooray for no more floating!) and is super close to our house and daycare (Woohoo for less time in the car!).  Come visit if you are in the area! 

4.  Harrison is beyond ready for the start of Yankee baseball.  We think this is the year (P.S. We think this every year.)

5.  Last night we made the most of a beautiful evening and played in the driveway while Matt grilled.  Today the wind is crazy and the ground is covered with snow.  Oh Nebraska and your crazy weather....this family is ready for spring!
6.  I don't really have anything to say about this picture...I just thought that it was too cute not to share.  H continues to LOVE bath time and holy cow does this picture remind me of his big sister.

 So there you have it!  The quick and dirty update on life in the Ritchie house.  There's never a dull moment--even on days like today when I have no intention of changing out of pajamas!  

   

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Choosing to See

After Charlotte earned her wings, I received many recommendations from friends about books that might provide some level of comfort during our darkest moments. It took me awhile to get to a point where I could just sit down and really focus enough to read again, but when I did, the suggestions were a good starting point.  There were books like Heaven is For Real, One Thousand Gifts, and one that has really had me thinking lately, Choosing to See.

Choosing to See was written by by Mary Beth Chapman (wife of Christian singer Stephen Curtis Chapman).  In 2008, the Chapman's five year old daughter Maria was tragically killed when a vehicle struck her in their own driveway. And while this loss was undoubtedly an inspiration behind this memoir, the message behind it is broader. 

"In Choosing to See, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life.  She struggles with some of life's greatest questions:  Where is God when things fall apart?  Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can I survive hard times?  No matter where you find yourself in your own life story, you will treasure the way that Mary Beth shows that even in hard times, there is hope if you choose to see." (text from book cover)

Last Monday night, on the eve of my 31st birthday, I found myself lying in bed having my ritual conversation with God.   It was really nothing new...thanking Him for another day, prayers for my family and a host of others in need of them, and my nightly request that I might see, hold, smell my baby girl in my dreams.  In the past 2 years there have only been a handful of nights where I have had Charlotte dreams-- unfortunately, despite my requests, March 4th was not one of them. 

I got up Wednesday morning and went about my day. It was a good birthday. Harrison woke up happy and ready to snuggle, Matt surprised me at work with super yummy cupcakes, a few hours later I had Starbucks delivered by my mother-in-law.  The evening was capped off with a low key dinner (in my pjs!) and an evening at home with my boys. 

That night as I tucked myself into bed, I had what I like to refer to as a "choosing to see" moment.  Above I mentioned birthday snuggles, cupcakes, coffee and family time...but what I didn't really put together until the day was almost over, was how Charlotte was present in my day as well.  

That morning I checked my email and found a message from a family whose newborn son was having surgery the next day. They wanted to share a picture with us...

Sweet Ethan had surgery this week in Omaha.  All reports so far are that he's doing well! 

That afternoon when I arrived home from work I found a large box addressed to Charley's Heart sitting in the living room.

Hospice with Heart reached out to us in November after our article ran in the OWH.  They collected monkeys through the end of February and they arrived this week.  Talk about a happy birthday gift!

Before I went to bed that night, I heard the familiar ding of a message arriving in my inbox. I did one last email check and low and behold...

I'm so in love with these pictures.  Sweet Teresa is currently listed for a heart transplant and her mom sent us a request for a RedButt about a month ago.  We were so excited to send one of our monkeys their direction and even more excited to see how much she loves "Mr. Pinky!"  Haha!  What an incredible reminder of why we do this.  
Tears.

It was at that moment that I realized that in the hustle and bustle of the day...this mama had forgotten to SEE.  I had asked God for a simple dream, but he had given me so much more. He gave me my baby girl morning, noon and night.   He sent me THREE reminders, all on my birthday, all from random places, all re-enforcing the fact that my Charlotte is always with me.   During difficult times it becomes easy to develop tunnel vision and to focus on the "unfair" or "unanswered prayers."  But what I have learned is that there are beautiful blessings all around us - sometimes you just have to make a conscious effort...sometimes you have to CHOOSE to see.