Thanksgiving Reflections

I have to say....this Thanksgiving was probably the best I've had in a long, long time.  The past 4 years have been full of so many ups and downs.....mostly downs...that it has been difficult to focus on the moment, the small things.  This year, heart was ready to be thankful.

I am thankful for this crazy crew of people...and the nerves that were shot just to take this picture! You wouldn't knowing it by looking at our smiling faces that we were saying, "Hurry up before we have a meltdown!" Sure enough, 2 snaps in, Collen and Charlotte both started crying.

This is the picture of joy! It doesn't get any better than a boy playing in the leaves.  I'm so thankful for his playful, innocent spirit and his wise old soul.  I'm also thankful for my brother-in-law for capturing this moment that will live in my heart forever.

His shirt says, "Everyone is thankful for me!"  We sure are, buddy.  After losing Ayden, this little boy brought so much joy and hope back into our lives. He is so special to us. I find myself staring at him sometimes....just in awe of him.

And this little sweetie-pie.  Oh, how she has fulfilled me.  I can't put a finger on it, but she has done something to me that I can't begin to describe.  Saying I love her doesn't even begin to put into words how I feel about her.  If I'm away from her too long, I feel like I'm losing myself.  She is so much a part of me, it's unreal.  She has brought so much completion, joy, and peace to our lives.  We didn't know it before, but she is what our family needed.  So thankful for her sweet, quiet nature and for the those smiles that just melt our hearts.

I had a moment to myself last night as I was eating some Thanksgiving leftovers.  We spent the night at my parents' house - the house I grew up in.  Whenever I'm home, it feels as if I never moved away.  I'm able to just fall back into step.  I love that house.  I love the memories that are there.  The memories are tough right now, though, as I miss my dad more than ever.  I sat down to eat in my usual spot - the big, comfy chair.  I looked up and glanced over to the couch to find it empty, and I found myself unable to come to grips with that seat...Daddy's seat...being empty.  I could see him sitting there, feet up (with black socks on them from being in his dressier clothes earlier in the day), in his pajama pants and white t-shirt, telling me, "Isn't there something better on than this?" (I was watching Twilight).  In that moment, I asked myself, "Will it ever feel normal?  For them not to be here....will ever feel like they're supposed to be gone?"  Nope...easy answer.  Here's the better question - do I want it to feel normal? Absolutely not.  I want to feel that longing and yes, even the pain.  That's what makes it real, and that's what keeps my focus on Heaven and not this world.  

Deep thoughts over turkey leftovers...

I have so much to be thankful for.  But more than anything, I'm thankful for HOPE and the promise of eternity given to me through my Lord, Jesus Christ.  Without Him, I would be nothing and have nothing to live for.

I hope you and yours enjoyed a wonderful holiday.  We have already decorated for Christmas and are ready to embrace the Christmas spirit.  :)  I love this time of year!

Cuteness overload

This year's Christmas card brought to you by Shutterfly and the following pictures courtesy of Kaylene Bain. 
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2 Months Already!

Charlotte turned 2 months old on Sunday and 9 weeks yesterday.  How in the world have 9 weeks flown by so quickly!  This milestone also meant my return to work. Booo.....

Check out this little lady:

At 2 months, Charlotte is changing every day.  She is smiling big, gushy smiles that make you feel like you are just absolutely her most favorite person in the entire world.  She is also cooing and doing the oh-so-sweet "ah-goo" sound.

Since birth, she has had an awesome mohawk.  We go with it and tell her she can get her wild streak out now.  If, one day, she wants a mohawk, we can tell her she's already gone through that need to repeat it. ;)  She has a very thick patch of hair on the crown of her head...I love running my fingers through it.  

I just happened to capture this photo.  It is significant, actually, because I have one of Collen doing the exact same thing.  Of course, I can't find it at the moment to show you, but believe me...exact same picture...just Collen and his dog.

At 2 months old, Charlotte weighs 10lbs 13oz, and she is 23 inches long.  She is in the 50th percentile for her weight and 75% for her height.  Her head circumference is 39cm, and she is in the 60th percentile for that.  She is hitting milestones when she should and growing well.  She is still breastfeeding (woo!) and continues to do very well with it.  She LOVES her big brother, Collen, and he adores her, too.  He can get a little competitive at times for attention, but when she cries, he is the first to try to console her.  He is going to be a great big brother and protector as they get older!  Charlotte is definitely fitting the typical "baby of the family" mold.  We all flock to her and do everything we can to make "Char-baby" happy.  We are all in love with this precious baby girl, and I pray every single day that God would please, please let us keep her.  She has fulfilled my life in ways I never imagined possible!

Now...who does she look like?  We get this questions ALL the time.  Most people say she is a good mix of both of the boys, and she is.  Some days, she reminds me so much of Collen.  Others...she is the spitting image of Ayden (except the dark, thick hair).  I'll let you decide:

Here is Collen around 2 months:                                           Ayden around 2 months:

I can definitely see both boys in her, but she looks most like Ayden.  If I didn't know that was Ayden in the picture on the right, I would think it was Charlotte - they look that similar to each other.

Our big transition - Mommy going back to work and kids going to the babysitter - took place this Monday.  All weekend, I was weepy and just on edge.  I so enjoyed my 8.5 weeks at home with my babies.  I felt like I was betraying them by going back to work...especially Charlotte.  I was/am terrified of leaving her.  I think that is to be expected, especially in our case.  I have taken it one day at a time, and each passing day gets a little easier.  I know she is in wonderful hands.  We are extremely blessed to be able to send them to a wonderful home during the day where they are loved and spoiled.  :)  

Being back at work has been okay.  Pumping is somewhat new to me, though, and it has been an adjustment.  I pumped some with Collen but only if we were leaving the house and needed milk on the go.  Now, having to purposefully pump in order to replenish the stock I left with the  This is tough to do when you're a teacher.  I have to work around my planning period and the end of the day in order to time it out right.  So far, I've been able to pump enough to refill/replenish the bottles she gets during the day.  I'm hoping I can keep that up.  I know it's tough, and I can only do the best I can.  If I can make it to 6 months, I will be satisfied.  

Please continue to pray for us and for Charlotte.  Pray for her safety and for me/us to continue to trust God and His will....whatever it may be.  We are so thankful for Charlotte and Collen and the blessing they are to our lives every single day.  If they only knew how loved they's amazing.

And I'll leave you with a quick video of Miss Charlotte so you can see her sweet little personality in action: