Friday, March 20, 2015

This Girl is on Fire

Ages 2.5 to 3 have proved to be the most...challenging...with Gracie. Luckily, they have also been some of the most entertaining. Here are some favorites of late from my best girl:

Leaving School
Gracie: Mama, are we leaving?
Me: Yep, we are getting the heck outta dodge
Gracie: This isn't DODGE, this is SCHOOL!

Playing early one morning
Gracie: Mama, did you poot?
Me: NO?!?!
Gracie (very seriously): I fink your breath smells like a poot
If you need me I'll be brushing my teeth for the next century

Running into an old boss of Parkes
Man: Is this your baby brother?
Gracie: Yep. He feeds off Mama's chest ALL OF THE TIME!
I have no idea why she phrases it like that- it makes it sound like Sam is some sort of jungle beast.

Gracie's class has a clip system where each child starts out on green and is moved to yellow or red should their behavior warrant it. A few days ago, Gracie was sent to her room for some back-talking - after a few minutes I went to check on her and found she had taken all of the clips off of the bottom of her window shades and was clipping them to various areas in her room...
Me: What are you doing?
Gracie: Mama, you've been moved to red. You will stay there unless you can be good today.
Later, after Parke said something smart...
Me (kidding): Gracie, Daddy is being rude.
Gracie: Don't worry, Mama. I've already moved his clip to yellow.

Gracie, holding an empty toilet paper roll up megaphone style
And now, presenting our very own baby. The one, the only, SAMUEL HASKELL HARRIS!!!!
I really don't know where she gets this stuff

We love, love Gracie and Sam's school- but occasionally Gracie picks up some phrases we would rather her not- these include
and, my favorite,
To which I always reply, "You are exactly right, I'm your mama"

Playing with some new bath toys 
Me: Gracie, what are your new fish named?
Gracie: Sally, and Sally the FOOL!
Calling them like she sees them, I guess

After Sam does one of his roll/twirl/dive deals
Oooooooh, Sammy! You've got some MOOOOOBES!

Deep conversation on the way to school
Gracie: Jesus is in our hearts
Me: Yes! That is exactly right, Jesus is everywhere
Gracie: Yeah, like we can chew him up and eat him and then visit him in Heaven on a purple balloon

Needless to say, this girl keeps us on our toes and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Story of Sam

The other day I was reading back through old posts, trying to piece together when Gracie had some milestone or another so that I would know what to expect for Sam. I ended up reading almost a year's worth of posts and crying/laughing/smiling through them all.

This blog really serves as the best record I have of my children. Despite the 5 million pictures I have on my phone, I am way too disorganized to put together a proper "baby book". So, this is it. And now, for the first seven months of Sam's life, I have nothing written down.

I learned long ago that beating yourself up over things you can't change is pretty pointless, I really try to go with the "just do better from here" method.

So, let me start at the beginning. The story of Sam.

Sam was the only one of my children with whom I was in no hurry to evacuate the premises. I loved being pregnant with him-which is an annoying thing to say, I know. Annoying, but true. And because I was perfectly happy in my roly poly state, I really had not given much thought to the actual birth day. I remember having a very out-of-body feeling at my 38 week appointment, it truly had not sunk in that this baby had to come out.

And it really didn't sink in until the very early morning drive to the hospital. As Parke and I tiptoed out of the house, leaving my mom and a blissfully unaware sleeping Gracie behind, I just lost it. It all hit me at once. Here I was again, having this baby who I already loved more than life and everything that was to or could change in the next few hours came crashing down on me. Every thought of what could go wrong, which now seemed multiplied by a million because it not only affected me and my life but that of my innocent baby girl, hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried and cried. Luckily, Parke is very accustomed to such outbursts and though he must have been scared to death himself, he just patted my leg. He also did not eat anything for breakfast out of solidarity with me. He's a good egg.

By the time we reached the hospital, I'd pulled myself together. Before I knew it, I was in a gown and hooked up to a million machines. There is a moment, at least for me, when they wheel me back to the operating room and away from Parke and put me up on that cold metal table surrounded by beeps and cold, cold air...and I want to run. Just for that moment, but I want to hop off that table and take my big belly with the baby safely inside and run like crazy.

That moment always passes, but I will say I think that this was my scariest c-section. In actuality, it was the best one- or the one with the least complications- but sometimes you just know too much. Once Parke got to the room and the doctors started their work I found myself screaming in my head to just get the baby out. Outwardly, I think I appeared pretty calm- well, until I started shaking uncontrollably, but I was assured that was due to all of the drugs (Side note: Drugs and I do not get along. At all).

After what seemed like way too long, I felt "some pressure" (this is what doctors say during a c-section- it actually feels like someone is pulling all of the insides out of your body...which..yeah, eeeww) out came Samuel Haskell Harris. Emphasis on the "Hair". The actual first words I heard anyone say as my child entered this world were, "that child has more hair than any caucasian baby I've ever seen".  He was 7 lbs 2 oz of hairy perfection.

The next moments are still so clear to me, even all of these months later. They wrapped the baby up and Parke held Sam's head next to mine and I just kept kissing that head- I remember how soft his hair and skin were in comparison to the rough fabric on his little hat- and I just kept telling how much we loved him. Over and over again, "I love you, we love you".

He looked like his sister. And his brother. And also, just like Sam.

I won't bore you with the rest of the recovery (as I said, drugs are no friends of mine), but after the initial shock to my body wore off I can honestly say that my hospital stay with Sam was probably as close to heaven as I'll get on this earth. I've never felt such euphoria. I was just so very happy. I can't even explain it, because of course there were plenty of hard parts to come, but for those three days I loved my little bubble with my little boy. Gracie came to visit and my heart almost burst holding both of them at the same time. And somehow I felt that first baby boy of mine there too. The actual events of those days are fuzzy, but the feeling I have when I think about that time is so clear. Love. Pure and simple love.

The best part? The story of Sam was just beginning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Baby Hugs

About a week ago, Sam started giving me baby hugs.  When he was a tiny baby, he would rest his fluffy little head right under my chin and snuggle down until he fit just right. It was the absolute best.

That head is now much bigger (yet still very bit as fluffy), so it doesn't fit under my chin quite right anymore. Don't get me wrong, we still snuggle...most of every night in fact- that's a story for another blog post...but I've missed those special snugs.

That is, until I started receiving baby hugs. Every morning for the past week, Sam finishes eating and starts cooing and grinning up at me. He has the goofiest little grin of any baby I have ever seen, you CANNOT look at him while he is smiling and not smile yourself. Trust me, this is from someone who hasn't slept through the night in 6 months- its a powerful grin.

And then, just when I thought I couldn't smile any harder, I lift him up onto my shoulder where he wraps his little arms around my neck and stays there for a full minute, holding on with all of this tiny might. It is the very best part of my day.

Please let me never forget these baby hugs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Way They Were

I keep meaning to sit down and write on this blog, but..well, my last post was in November so you see how well that is going for me.

For now, here is what we've been up to. This is the most perfect representation of my children's personalities, all sweetness and sass (I'll let you figure out who is who)...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remembering Rip

Rip passed away four years ago this Tuesday- on November 18th, 2010.

I never know what to do with this day. His birthday is always harder on me, emotionally, but at least there is a purpose to a birthday. Even if the person is no longer living, you can still celebrate the day they were born. This year, Gracie and I made "birthday cakes" in her bathtub and sang "Happy Birthday" up to was her idea and I think it was pretty perfect.

But what do you do with the day someone, especially a child, dies? I've beat myself up in the past for not being the type of person who organizes a race in his name, or starts a fundraiser in his memory. A thought occurred to me this year that maybe it didn't have to be that hard.

I've said often that despite the circumstances, Rip is and always will be A Good Thing in our lives. So this year, on Tuesday, November 18th, I'd ask that you do something good for a child in his name.

It can be anything. If you want to make a monetary donation, I'd highly suggest donating to your local NICU or PICU...the people who work in those units, particularly the nurses, are truly angels on earth. They are saving the smallest, most precious lives. Of course, there are a million other worthy children's charities, especially this time of year, all of which are doing great things for those who can't.

But I know how busy we all are...and its the holidays so most of us are pretty broke, too. The good things I am asking for can be as simple as letting your child stay up that thirty extra minutes to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and taking the time to smell their sweet heads while they do it. Its doing something small and good that will bring joy to these amazing little creatures who have been entrusted to our care.

November 18th will never be a good day in our family's history, but it can certainly be a day in which good things happen. If even one child is given an extra smile that day in Rips' name, then his life is still a very Good Thing.

Thank you so much.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Thing About Birthdays

My first baby turns 4 tomorrow.

When you are home with a newborn, you can lose track of time. My mind still thinks it should be August, these past three months have been such a blur. I am not exaggerating or sugar-coating when I say they have been some of the happiest of my life.

Rip's birthday snuck up on me this year. I've been thinking about him so much since Sam was born, wondering more about what he would have been like than I did with Gracie. There is just something about a mama's love for her little boy.

But I haven't had that anxiety I usually have leading up to his birthday. That, in itself, is a little sad because I know all too well that if I had an almost four-year-old boy sitting here today I would be reminded constantly of the date. I know this because his almost three-year-old sister has been talking about her princess birthday party since before Halloween. Her birthday is three days before Christmas. So I wonder what party we would be planning for tomorrow.

We had pictures taken of our family right after Sam was born. Our photographer (my very talented cousin-in-law) contacted me as soon as she began working on them and said that the picture below almost brought her to tears when she saw it, that there was something there that was not seen to the naked eye when she took the picture.

Do I believe that light shining down on our family is the closest thing to a complete family picture we will ever get? I do. If I was unsure before, I believed after I ordered prints of this photo and the front of the package said they could be picked up at 11:11. Sometimes you just know.

The thing about birthdays is that no matter how short the life, each and every one changes the world in some way. On November 11th, 2010 at approximately 7:53 am, the world was changed forever. A little boy named John Robert Harris, Rip, was born to Parke and Anne Harris. He made them parents and a family. His birth made it possible for them to have two additional children- Grace Louise, the heart, and Samuel Haskell, the soul. So every year on that day his mother closes her eyes and gives thanks, because she is leading a blessed life. A life which in no small part she has been given because of the birthday of her oldest son. 

Thank you, Rip Harris, for changing my world. I love you more than you will ever know.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Day in the Life

Below is a day in my life, also known as today:

6 am- All awake except Sam (who woke up for an hour-long meal about 4am)
6:10- I am dressed for the day
6:20- Gracie is fully dressed and eating oatmeal
6:22- Gracie drops oatmeal on her clothes
6:25-Gracie requests a bandaid for a non-existent boo-boo
6:30-Sam is awake
6:35- Feed Sam while Gracie jumps on the bed and asks repeatedly to hold the baby
7:00- Parke has scheduled an early meeting and leaves...I declare an end to all future early meetings
7:00-8:25- I finish feeding baby, change baby, dress baby, change and dress baby again while Gracie:
Finds her way into the baby's crib and nearly busts her chin open
Takes off her boots approximately 15 times
Runs around the whole house with the handmade bedding from the bassinet, dragging it through dog hair and spilled oatmeal
Decides she needs to put her baby doll to bed and refuses to go to school until the baby has been changed and sung to
Insists on putting on her boots by herself
8:25- All in the car- I realize I need gas
Gracie realizes she never got a band-aid and bellows about it until I put on the Frozen CD
8:25-8:35- Sing Let It Go 5 times

I work from 9-3, which is a great schedule for a working mom. This only being the 2nd day I have been away from Sam this long, I am so excited to pick the kids up.

3:10- Pick up baby, smother him with kisses
3:12: Pick up Gracie, smother her with kisses
3:13- Gracie decides she need to go potty before leaving school
3:17- Gracie is still on the potty with no action
3:20- Sam is crying. I tell Gracie (still on potty) that we will try again at home
3:25- I find a teacher to bring Sam to the car while I haul a screaming toddler (" I WANT TO POTTY AT SCHOOOOOOL!!") to the car
3:25-3:35-Gracie cries hysterically. I listen to Let It Go and eat a miniature Kit Kat I've had the good fortune to find between the seats
3:35- Home. Gracie calms down and requests Doc McStuffins...I feed Sam and we have 20 minutes of relative peace
3:55- Gracie requests a second snack. After being told no, another tantrum begins
TV is turned off as punishment, and will only be turned back on for good behavior
TV stays off for the remainder of the afternoon
4:00- I decide we need some fresh air and take both kids on a run. This is nice.
4:30- Gracie pinches her finger in her sunglasses. Tears ensue.
5:00- Bath time. Sam gives me some reassuring smiles that I am not totally blowing this whole mom thing.
5:30- Parke is home!!
6:00- I eat dinner while holding a nursing Sam. I drop tacos on his head.
6:45- Sam goes to bed. I come back to find Gracie has taken out every toy she has ever owned.
7:00- I pour a glass of wine and retreat to the shower. I also bring along a Tootsie Roll pop I will have to eat in the shower in order to avoid being caught by a toddler who DOES NOT need the sugar.
7:05- I hear rapid fire feet heading my way. The shower curtain is whipped back..."MAMA- I SEE YOUR BIG OL STOMACH!!"
Also, I have been caught eating a lollipop and am questioned extensively about its origins.
7:07- I think I am alone in the shower, having convinced Gracie to "go play with Daddy"
7:08- I hear what sounds like the sink running
7:09- I poke my head out to find Gracie has "washed" my wine glass with lavender lotion
7:10- Gracie says that maybe tomorrow night we can take a bath together, and we can play with toys.
I say I think that is a great idea.
8:00- All babies are asleep. Gracie tells me she loves me. Sam nestles under my neck in a way that makes me think maybe he does, too

I will admit, sometimes I forget to be thankful every day. Days like this (i.e. pretty much every day) where I am tired and everything seems to be happening all at once, I am short-tempered and go to bed questioning every move I make.

But today I take the time to be thankful that this is a day in my life. A day that ended with helpless laughter when I found my hard-earned wine glass covered in purple handprints. Four years ago, I would have given anything for this life- and now I have it.

You can remind me I said that tomorrow morning on my third rendition of Let It Go.