Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Purple Eggs

The Saturday before Easter, Harrison and I sat down at the kitchen table with 4 dye-filled dishes, 6 hard-boiled eggs and a roll of paper towels spread out neatly in front of us.  It was a first for both of us…my first time carrying out this Easter tradition with a toddler, and his first time being trusted with an egg in his hands!  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little anxious about the whole process.  I’m somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to things like that and Harrison…well…Harrison is an almost 2 year old boy who throws most anything that he can get his little mitts on.  I was fairly confident that those fragile little eggs had met their match!  We talked a lot about being “gentle” and demonstrated how to set the egg down into the dish versus dropping it like he was highly inclined to do….and much to my surprise, he did really well.  Together we spooned the colored water over our eggs, calling out colors as we watched the pristine white shells turn vibrant shades of red, yellow, blue and green. 

Everything was going well.  Until, that is, Harrison decided to do something horrific.  Unthinkable.  Deplorable.  All that I could do was stand there and watch in horror as my own flesh and blood scooped up a spoonful of green colored liquid and very carefully transferred it into the neighboring red bowl.   Every piece of my OCD personality wanted to snatch the spoon away from him and shout “ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY INSANE, BOY!?!  WE DON’T MIX COLORS!”  My brain hurt.  My skin crawled.  I still shudder at the mere thought of it. 
Harrison, proving to be much less insane than his mother, thought that the whole deal was pretty awesome.  As he continued to add color after color to that same bowl, he looked me straight in the eye, flashed a HUGE grin and shouted “Whoa, Mommy!  Bwack wawer!”  He realized that he made a new color….and he was PROUD. 

My heart immediately softened and a similar smile spread across my own face.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m still totally against such brazen mixing of colors, but his excitement was heart warming and contagious.  Not only that, but as I watched him marvel at his last egg and the “bwak water,” my eyes were opened to something beautiful that was taking place where I initially saw only chaos.  I present to you…
Our purple egg.

Tomorrow, May 1st, is the first day of a very messy month for our family.  In just 31 short days we will celebrate Mother’s Day without the one who made me a mommy, send 4 balloons to our 4 year old in Heaven, and do our best to navigate a world of grief as we mark yet another year without sweet Charlotte.  I can already feel parts of myself starting to shut down.  I’m sleeping less, crying more, having flashbacks of the most awful day of my life.  I look at the month of May and struggle to see anything but black water. 
The story of Harrison and the purple egg was a perfectly timed reminder of how God is constantly at work in my life.  He challenges me to be a better version of myself and helps me through things that I know I couldn’t survive without faith in Him.  He uses my children, all 3 of them, to open my heart and eyes to the things that are truly important. He reveals beauty in my brokenness -  Throws me into black water with the intention of showing me life’s purple eggs. 
Yes, May is a hard month.  It always will be.  And while I know I have to allow myself to grieve, this May I'm going to do my best to focus my attention on all of the purple eggs in my life.  My husband, who is without a doubt the most amazing, kind-hearted man I've ever met.  The two healthy baby boys that I get to snuggle with every single night. Memories from the time I spent with the sweetest girl this world has ever known.  Friends and family to share those memories with.  It's all of these blessings that carry me through my darkest days.
Thank you, God, for purple eggs. 

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  Isaiah 43:2 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sweet Dreams

For the past 22 months, our bedtime routine has been the same. There has been very little variation, few reasons to stray from familiarity. We say our good-nights, give kisses where necessary, and make our way upstairs to your room. Once there, we snuggle into the chair that Daddy got for me for my very first Mother’s Day, read books, talk about the moon and the stars, and say our prayers. When I put you into your crib you request “blankie out” (meaning you want me to spread your blanket out) and we perform a head count to make sure that both of your bears are accounted for. From there we turn on your seahorse, your fan for some white noise, and I give you a few more kisses before wishing you the sweetest dreams. It’s always been the same, and quite honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

When baby brother came along thoughts of change were forced into our minds. We started talking more and more about your big boy bed in the room next door, though I’ll be the first to admit that there was a lot more “talk” than actual intent to take the plunge. Big boy beds are for big boys….and you, sweet Harrison, will always be my baby. As your brother grew bigger and bigger, it became clear that your crib days were nearing their end. Yet still, my big plans to transition were repeatedly pushed off into the future for no good reason other than my unpreparedness and your love for that crib of yours.

Last week I boldly stated “This weekend we’re moving Harrison into his big boy room.”
Two days later I said, “Maybe we should wait until a weekend where daddy isn’t working.”

Again…mommy wasn’t ready.
I was stalling.
I crave routine.
I’m bad with change.

Thursday night, April 17, I tried to put you into the big boy bed just for books. You screamed and cried and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you weren’t ready. We made our way into your nursery and fell back into our familiar routine.

I wish that I would have known then what I know now.

…That one night later you would contently read books with your daddy in that big boy bed.

…That one night later you would ask me “Big boy bed?” on our way up the stairs.

…That one night later you would successfully sleep through the night in a bed that makes you look so, so tiny...and that you would continue to do so for the next 7 nights and counting.

Had I known then, I might have rocked you just a little bit longer the night before.

H and crew {2 bears, a blankie, monkey, zebra, sea horse, book, and cup of water (thirsty boy with a fever)} all tucked in for the night.  He refuses to be covered up and insists "I stuck" every time I try!

Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you, Harrison, and look forward to continuing our familiar routines with a little change of scenery!  Sweet dreams....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rainy Day Fun

The rain may have stopped, but the ground is wet and the air is cool.  It isn't what I had hoped for for my day off with the boys, but it is the perfect kind of day to break out the paints and let our little Picasso create a masterpiece while little brother napped.

 H is normally a little weird about getting his hands "methy," so I was quite surprised to see him dive right into the paint.
 And then this happened....

 ...and it was time to put the paints away.  I promise I only laughed a little!

Here's hoping that our recent April showers bring lots of May flowers, sunshine, and Thursday afternoons outside with this little guy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Maxwell Thane {2 Months}

Two weeks ago, our sweet little Max hit the big 2 month milestone.  Two weeks ago, our house was also hit by a plague of epic proportions.  H had fevers and an ear infection.  I soon developed a funky eye infection, followed by 102 degree fevers and a strep throat diagnosis (on my first day back to work, none the less).  By the time I realized that Max's 2 month birthday had come and gone (and felt well enough to snap some pictures), our littlest Ritchie woke up with a goopy eye and loads of congestion.  Go figure.

My update is a little late in coming, but here's a look back at some of the highlights of Max's second month...

{Well visit}  Mr. Max was still a peanut at 2 months, weighing in at 11 pounds even (25th percentile).  His "clicky" hip has worked itself out with no intervention and Dr. Whitcomb described him as "absolutely perfect."  We couldn't agree more!

{Story telling}  We are starting to hear more and more of Max's sweet voice (though all of his congestion isn't helping!)  He loves being talked to and it melts our hearts to hear his responses.  If he's anything like his big brother, he'll be talking up a storm in no time!

{ZZZzzzzZZZ}  I wish that I could report differently, but we're still working on a good, solid nights sleep.  Max has teased us on a few occasions, but for the most part we're still on an every 4 hour cycle (I'm pleased to say that since he hit 2 months, things have improved greatly!)

{Mr. Smiles}  We got our first of many smiles.  There's no better feeling in the world than when your kiddo sees your face and rewards you with a smile.  It melts my heart every single time.

Poor boy was a little under the weather when we took this months pictures - I contemplated waiting until he felt better, but each day we waited took us closer to 3 months!  
This kid wasn't helping with the whole picture taking process.  First he didn't want to share the chair.  Then he tried to sit on his brother.  Then he just started jumping off of the chair and yelling "issa biiiiiiig step!"  Goof.
And just because I think these rug pictures are fun....

Month #2 was pretty laid back and focused on the things that babes do best -- eating, sleeping and snuggling.  And as you can see by the pictures above, there was a whole lot of growing taking place as well!  

Happy 2 (and 1/2) months, Mr. Max.  Mommy and daddy love you with all of our hearts!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Four "Bs"

Harrison, Harrison, Harrison. You are quite the character these days. Always entertaining. Always a goof ball. Always amazing us with your "smarts" and keeping us on our toes with your attitude. You love to be outside. Love to explore. Love to love on your little brother. And while you become more of a "big boy" everyday, your mama swears that you will always be her baby.

While making a list of some of your favorite things these days, I noticed that there is one thing tying them all together.  So without further ado, here are a few "Bs" that simply scream Harrison!  

{Banana Bread} A current favorite that you request no less than 10 times a day. First thing in the morning. In the car after school. Mid-bath. Mid-cry. Dinner time. You name it. Thank God for Grandma Debbie and her freezer full of homemade loaves (and her willingness to share!)

{Bed Head} You, kiddo, are long over due for a haircut.  This morning we were rocking a modernized "Flock of Seagulls" look!

{Buzzi-buppers} With a new house going up next door and a borrowed skid loader in our garage, there is lots of talk of buzzi-buppers (translation: bulldozers) filling our walls. You're definitely getting your fill of big trucks and construction sites these days and with a view from our dining room table, you can get your dirt "fix" while eating your banana bread. Pure little boy bliss!

{Basketball} The NCAA basketball tournament may have started in March, but basketball "Madness" took over our home way back around Christmas when your grammy got you a hoop of your own.  We play basketball every day and you get just as excited whether you make a basket or not.  If you miss, you simply smile, say "a-mose" (almost), and try again!  We spent a lot of our winter watching our Creighton Bluejays on TV and even took in a few of your cousin's games.  I have a feeling that you'll be trying to play with the big boys in no time!

Banana bread, bed head, buzzi-buppers and basketball...yup, that pretty much sums things up. Mr. Man, you make this mama's heart sing.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Sink Baths

Anyone who knows our sweet Harrison knows that he's not one to ever turn down food...especially when it comes in the form of a snack.  So two weeks ago when we started getting head shakes, screeching and continual "NOs" at the mention of breakfast, lunch and dinner, our minds immediately flashed back to mid-January when he got his first ear infection.  Lucky for us, we already had a 2 month well-visit scheduled for Max, and we were able to drag Mr. H along with us to get a quick peek into those ears.  It's never a good thing when the first words out of your pediatrician's mouth are "pretty awful."  Ugh.  We tried one antibiotic, hoping to avoid Augmentin, but when he developed fevers 2 days later, it was obvious that we had to change things up.  Apparently Harrison's ears really like Augmentin.  His bottom, however, does not.

Hello diaper rash.  Hello tear-filled diaper changes.  Hello heart-broken mama.  Hello Good-bye baths. 

Yes, you heard me.  Good-bye baths.  This kid 1,000% flat out refuses to take a bath when he doesn't feel well.  Throw in a very red/sore bottom and the matter just gets uglier and uglier.  We've learned to choose our battles and resort to some pretty half-hearted wipe downs until our normally water-loving kiddo returns.  This time around we made it through a good, solid week of stink accumulation, before this mama decided that it was time to get creative (translation: time to trick our kiddo into taking a bath.) 

H hasn't had a good ol' fashion sink bath since his first birthday, so just imaging his excitement when I stripped him down and plopped him into his new "tub."  No fears, that bottle scrubber got a bath of its own when all was said and done! 

I miss that grin when he's under the weather.  Welcome back, happy boy!! 
That there is a look of pure orneriness!  I believe this was about 2 seconds before he discovered dumping water onto the floor.  And about 5 seconds before I shot him the evil eye.
I'm thrilled to report that all seems to be headed in the right direction in the Ritchie house.  We had a long 2 weeks of various illnesses, but the smiles have returned.  The kids (and sheets) have been washed and the toys are next in line.  Now if Mother Nature would just give us some warm sunshine so that we could air things out a little!  We're so over winter and all of the "ick" that it brought to our house this year.