Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

23 Months

She started her 23rd month in the daycare room with the 2-3 year olds. We were over watching her cousins one night when she asked "Potty? Potty?" Her Daddy said "Do you want to use the bathroom?" and she said "Yea" and touched her diaper. "What do I do?" he asked me. "I dunno...let her try" I responded. She took her diaper off with some help, and sat there for awhile. She didn't actually go potty, but we celebrated like she did, impressed that she initiated this on her own for the very first time!

The first weekend of her 23rd month, we woke up and it was unusually windy. Shoot, I wanted to get some good photos of her, and I can't now because it's so windy. The wind will mess up her hair I thought. Wait, did you just hear yourself?! I questioned myself. She had a blast, and they instantly became my most recent favorite photos of her. (I have new favorites every month).


"Kiss the joy as it flies."
After our impromptu photo shoot that almost wasn't, we attended a "celebration of life" for a teacher who taught at our school for over 30 years. Although it sounds more cheerful than "memorial service" I still sat there an cried throughout the entire presentation, because there were so many parallels between Cheri and my Mom. The photos of her with her family really got to me, and she was heavy on my heart the rest of the day. Late that afternoon and into the evening, we were all out on the patio bbq-ing and we put on some of Cheri's favorite songs that were played that morning, including the one in the video below. 
Capturing them dancing like this had me in tears all over again. The "soak this up, for your time is fleeting too" kind. The kind that helps you hone in on, and appreciate, what's really important in life; joy with family.
"Not until my whole life is done, will I ever leave you."

On Sunday, we went for our mother's day photos and then out for breakfast. She continues to be such an affectionate baby - spontaneously hugging and kissing me all the time.

We went to Disneyland after work for my birthday. We started with dinner at the Blue Bayou, a place that we went to when we were dating. Disneyland is increasingly fun with every visit because she is becoming more aware. We had a table up front and while we were waiting for our food, she loved leaning on the railing and looking at the boats. "We're going on those boats when we're done!" we told her. "Boat!" came her excited reply. I'm walking without a walker now, but still in pain and cannot do any distance at all, so my husband pushed me in a wheelchair, and she was on my lap. It was perfect. 

Although Disneyland stopped allowing people in wheelchairs to go to the front of the line back in 2013, they do have a fast-pass type arrangement. You scan your pass and come back after what the current wait time is. We scanned at Pirates, and then went over to the Haunted Mansion, where they let me go right on! She was a bit uncertain in the beginning, but did fine once we were on the actual ride. Then we scanned at Alice in Wonderland, and went to 'Toon Town where she could run around and explore. It was the perfect way to celebrate and we were home and had her in bed by 8pm.
My Dad and brother came out the next day and each gave me a gift that will be passed on to Baby A. My brother gave me a hand-blown glass paperweight with a tiny world of flowers inside, some of them made of real gold. This was meaningful because he gave it to our Mom years ago, and she was so touched by it back then. "I want you to have it" he said. It was adorable to see Baby A look at it, then pull it in to her face for a closer study.

And then, Dad's gift. It left me speechless, then brought a tear to my eyes. He picked out an emerald months ago. Then, he took it to a jeweler to create a necklace. But when he got it back, weeks later, he didn't like it because it was too simple. So he took it to Emerson and Farrar who created an art deco surround. Emerald is my birthstone and also Baby A's. And the pearl? Mom's.

That Saturday, we went to Pretend City with my Dad and Glen and arrived just a few minutes before they opened. I love their member's only hour from 9-10am because it's not crowded. We headed home at 10:30am so that I could get my windows (including windshield!) tinted for mother's day. On Sunday, we went to Mass.

She continues to do really well in the room with the 2-3 year old toddlers. When I picked her up one day though, she had actual bite marks (upper and lower) on her right forearm. It didn't break the skin. What was tough for me as a Mom, was that they said it was unprovoked. "She was sitting at the table, playing when he bit her." Even more tough: Being told "Oh, we can't give you his name" when I casually asked which boy it was. It's not like I'm going to fight the Mom in the parking lot, sheesh! I mean, maybe I would give her a dirty look or mad-dog her kid (kidding - sort of) but that's it! Okay...I can see why they don't give out names.

On the drive home, I thought I could get it out of her, knowing in my mind the likely culprit. Our conversation went like this:

Me:           Baby A, do you know the name of the kid who bit you?
Baby A:    Yea
Me:           Was it a boy? (Of course it was a boy - it's always a boy!)
Baby A:    Yea (I knew it!)
Me:           Was it HENDRIX? I bet it's Hendrix
Baby A:    Yea Of course it was him! Oh, wait.....
Me:           Was it a girl?
Baby A:    Yea
Me:           Was it Melanie? (There is no Melanie in her class)
Baby A:     Yea

So much for that! But a bite mark wasn't all she brought home. Around the middle of the month, manners appeared. One morning, as she was in her high chair, I placed her scrambled egg with cheese on her tray like I always do and heard a "Thank you Mommy!" She did it again two more times, when I gave her fruit and toast. It was the cutest thing ever! We do teacher her to say thank you when Daddy gives her the bottle, for instance, but it was the first time she did it unprompted, and the first time she directed it towards me.

She has also started saying "sorry" a lot. Picking her up from daycare, I handed her my keys. As we were walking to the car, she accidentally dropped them and responded with a chipper, happy "Sorry Mommy!" Excuse  me is another favorite. I was getting ready and she wanted to investigate the drawers under the bathroom sink. "'Scuse me Mommy! 'Scuse me!" 

For mother's day weekend, we mostly stayed at home. Other than a Saturday morning trip to Disneyland and a walk on Sunday for breakfast with Daddy, we didn't go anywhere.


It was the last weekend before her second birthday party and I had crafting, de-cluttering and some cleaning to do. But we managed to have fun while doing it. Baby A's big thing lately is helping. Other than the occasional independent play (which usually consists of playing with her castle or putting blankets over her baby's faces so they go night-night), she wants to be by my side, doing what I'm doing. So I always find a role for her and a way to help.

Sunday was mother's day and low-key like I wanted. We walked to a local breakfast place and I came back and opened gifts that I wasn't expecting, since I had my windows tinted the weekend before, for mother's day. I was given a beautiful black dress and a garnet necklace to match our bracelets. I didn't cry all day which is huge progress compared to the other two I have had without Mom. Instead, I whispered "I miss you Mom" a few times, when no one was listening, or talked to her about how I now understand just how much she loved me.

For the week leading up to her party, we went to Disneyland again on a Tuesday but then stayed home the rest of the days. I baked her cake and was just so excited for her big day, which you can read about here. 

She loves going to daycare, and wants down right when we walk in the room, or walks in on her own. She will usually wave and say "Bye Mommy" before I have even signed her in. Sometimes, this is followed by her blowing me a kiss.

Her actual birthday was Friday, May 26th. I baked cupcakes for her class of 12 and took them to her as soon as I was off work. Then, we went to the park/playground down the street from my work. We celebrated that evening at Chuck-e-Cheese, and she had a blast. 

These past two years have been the best two years of my life. We're gearing up for IVF number 4, but if it doesn't work out, it only serves to highlight just what a miracle she is. Every day, I feel beyond blessed that she made me a mom.

Things I do not want to forget about this month:
  • "Nooooooooo waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!"
  • She loves spotting buses when I'm driving. Often before I even notice it she will exclaim "Bus!"
  • Ever more aware of her surroundings, she will now say "Animals!" when we pass by the farm on the way to school. I take her twice a month now.

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