Monday, July 10, 2017

A Roof Over Our Heads


I've been thinking a lot on how to write this post, what I would say, what to include, what to leave out, what I want to remember 10 years from now and what I'd like to forget. Writing things down helps me work through the things in my head, but my head has been such a messy place since we found out we would have to move. 


There has been so much panic- panic about how to pack when your infant cries every time you put her down. Panic about making big decisions on a tight timeline- and if you remember me talking about my postpartum depression, I talked about how painful decision making has been for me recently. Panic about money, about everything. Panic is overwhelming, it makes me stay up at night and it has made me wake up in the middle of the night feeling as if my heart is being squeezed and crushed by the hand of some unseen and uncaring monster.   

 On top of the panic there has been hurt- how does "family" just spring this on you? Why are people so uncaring? Hurt is often followed by anger, and in my case anger is always followed by depression- but I am getting ahead of myself. 

   
Without much time to plan our move it has seemed like every day we contemplated different options on how we should go forward. What town should we live in? Can we find something that we could actually buy? Should we even buy now? Do we have enough time? This process has been very hard on Cordelia- we wanted to tell her we had a plan, but we didn't, she wanted to know what life was going to look like and exactly when it was going to change, and we couldn't tell her that, we didn't have answers. 

 During this time I discovered that with some help we could buy- but we didn't have enough time, and we couldn't afford what we really wanted, and regrettably most apartments required you to make a lot more money to rent them than we do (even though we could budget the money and actually can pay the rent). This realization kind of crushed us a little bit- if we could buy a house we could make something permanent and safe, we could begin to build dreams again, and then not having that and then learning we couldn't rent was so hard- not only did we not have answers for Cordelia but we didn't even have answers for our situation. So we applied to a low income housing program- and with the assurance of the apartment leasing office that we had plenty of time to get the process competed,  we only applied to the one program. This was a mistake.


And regrettably we were mislead and paperwork issues have led to our move in date being pushed back four times- all the way up to past when we were told we needed to leave our rental. Which leaves us currently homeless. 

Yep you read that correctly, we are homeless, in fact we have been homeless for 10 days now. Months of hustling, looking at tons of places, running back and forth from the apartment giving them every piece of information they needed, we were evicted from my husband's grandmother's house with no place to live, all of our earthly possessions are in boxes in storage minus two suitcases, and a bunch of reusable tote bags...and my sewing machine because sanity has to come from somewhere.  

Being homeless is terrifying, but you know what? Being homeless has taught me a lot about people. Sure some people suck. Some people evict part of their own family- including two young children with no place to go and don't care- but there are more people who are kind, and generous, and good than there will ever be people who suck. 

As soon as we were really between a rock and a hard place people came from everywhere to offer us help- all kinds of help- help that has enabled us to have beds to sleep in and a roof over our heads while we work to figure this whole mess out. 


During this process I was struggling with how to keep parenting my children to trust the good in people when we were witnessing so much ugliness in a place I least expected it- inside of a family I thought so highly of.  But now I think I am starting to see the light, as I just said there may be disappointing people in life, but there are soo many more good people and knowing that I can focus on teaching Cordelia and Adeline to be good people, following the examples of all of this kindness that has touched us is empowering in a way. I don't think I will ever have words for how grateful I am right now, not only for the help we have been offered but for the way the people offering to help us has enabled me to regain my faith in goodness. 

I'm not sure I have said this recently, but thanks for reading along and being interested in our little family, all of your kind comments and "likes" mean a lot. And I'll keep you all updated on where we end up next. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Six Months


Life, and our move that is in limbo, got in the way of taking six month photos of Adeline- so these are really more like six and a half month photos- but I am not going to guilt myself over this. 


Adeline you now weigh 18 pounds and 12 ounces and a long with sitting up really well you are getting more and more mobile with each day- you can belly crawl and roll your way to anything you set your sights on!  


I had my mind set on waiting to feed you food till you made it all the way to six months- but I caved, you just wanted it soo soo badly! And you are an excellent eater! It didn't take you long at all to figure out how you were supposed to move your tongue to get the food down instead of just spitting it out. As of your six month birthday you had eaten oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and pickles- which were your favorite. 


I am hoping that with the addition of solid foods that maybe you will start sleeping through the night for me- you are still insisting on waking up at 4 am (and often at 2, 4, 5, and 6). 



At least you are always happy when you wake up, and really you are happy almost all of the time or I would be a much more cranky Mama. 


This month was our last one filled with quiet mornings alone together while Cordelia is in school, I have enjoyed the alone time but I know your sister is looking forward to getting to hang out with you more. This month you also got another opportunity to hang out with Merrick- and this time you were able to grab at her instead of just her grabbing you. The second day we went to see her you lunged forward to grab her like you were trying to give her a hug, and at lunch she kept trying to hand you some of her chewed up smushy bread- I think Sarah and my plans for you being best friends forever has hope despite the several states in between us! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

6 years and 6 months


It dawned on me that my children were 6 years and 6 months at the same time and it seemed like such a magic moment I wanted to freeze it. So I froze it the only way I knew how- with pictures.  


Having two small children is exhausting, but there is not a doubt in my mind that having both of them makes my life more complete.


School is out now so I am back to working five days a week. The process of getting myself and two kids up, ready, out the door, pumping milk, smiling at customers, getting everyone home, fed, and to bed is taking some getting used to. Combined with the fact that Adeline is still waking up a couple times a night I haven't had energy for anything "extra". I miss making things.  I miss T.V! I know I will adjust, but darn this is hard- I am soo tired!


But mostly what I miss, more than T.V, sewing, or even sleep, is the extra time during the day with these two. Work is necessary both for our budget- and probably my sanity, but look at these faces! They are just so incredibly sweet.  


 Adeline is very interested in Cordelia. She always knows where Cordelia is in the room. She watches everything Cordelia does- and exasperatingly enough she has even developed a fake cough to mimic Cordelia's very real cough. Now that Adeline can army crawl she has started going after whatever Cordelia is playing with!   


Cordelia loves to make Adeline laugh and giggle, and really enjoys waking her up- which I am not a fan of. Cordelia calls Adeline "Smushy, Mushy, Tushie" - I am hoping this extension of Adeline's nickname doesn't follow her for too long in life because I can see it annoying her as a pre-teen. 



 Adeline is a much more mellow baby than Cordelia was- granted it could just be that we perceive her as more mellow because we are more relaxed as parents, but I think Adeline tolerates things that Cordelia never would have- like being poked and prodded by an enthusiastic six year old. 


They seem so different now that I look forward to seeing how their individual personalities develop and grow. 



I feel very blessed to have my two sisters and my brother, having siblings has shaped who I am as a person in ways I'm not sure I even have words for. At the end of the day I know that my sisters and my brother are always there for me- I cannot be alone as long as they walk this earth. I knew with all my heart that Cordelia should have that too- which adds another layer to my thankfulness for Adeline. 



They are so young and so new at being sister, but they are so connected- I hope that connection is something we successfully nurture throughout their lives. 




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Firsts


Life is full of "firsts". Memorable moments all of them, and we each have our own unique firsts that stand out the most. These "firsts" change over time. As a kid and a teen these firsts included the first time I rode a two wheel bike, the first time i took the car out by myself, the first time I dyed my hair, my first boyfriend, and my first (and only) dance. 


As a new adult your "first" start to include things like your first drink, your first tattoo, your first apartment.  


When you become a parent your "firsts" become shared firsts and they seem to increase in importance- first smiles, first foods, first steps, first birthdays, first Christmas, first family vacation. Amazing, breathtaking family firsts. 


Granted not all "firsts" are good. During your youth your first boyfriend will likely be followed up by your first breakup, your first drink might just be followed by your first hangover. As parents your firsts also get to include your first time nursing a baby with a fever, and possibly you first ER visit. I think the firsts seem to get harder the older you get. You loose jobs, sometimes get tickets and eventually you loose people to death.


After someone dies you start to mark time by a whole new set of "firsts". Every one of these seem more painful than the last. 

The first time you start to call them on the phone realize they aren't there to pick up. 

The first family dinner they aren't there for and you realize they won't ever be at one again. 

The first time you need to ask them a question they aren't there to answer.

The first Christmas without them. 

Their first birthday gone.

The first time you start to question if you remember their voice or their stories correctly.

It hasn't even been a year since my Father or Grandfather passed,  but tomorrow marks another first- the first father's day without them, my first father's day without a father or a grandfather. I'm not sure how to wrap my mind around that. I'm not sure how to wrap my mind around the fact that I don't have a Dad. I know people think that time will make the loss hurt less, but it seems like the further we get from the last time I talked to my Dad, the harder it is. 

For all of you experiencing tomorrow without your dad- I'm thinking of you, and for all of you who are hanging with your Dad tomorrow take an extra long second to appreciate him, laugh at his bad jokes, and give him a hug.  



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Five Months



Adeline, life was busy leading up to five months. We have been packing like crazy for our move- and guess what? You hate the sound of the tape gun like no other sound. I have to take the boxes in another room to tape them and often you still hear it and cry. You also took your first big fall- a tumble off the changing table. This led to six hours of observation at the doctors office, which made for a long day but thankfully you were just fine.
 

You checked into five months weighing 17 pounds! 


This month you watched your first parade (the Hyattsville Anniversary Parade), we celebrated your sister's 6th birthday, and while you can't sit up on your own you can now sit up in the grocery cart! You love chattering at all the people and looking at everything in the store. 


You are getting much much more coordinated with your hands, you reach and grab anything you try for and you are starting to really enjoy toys. You still love soft things the best, but Hammy bought you a Sophie the giraffe which you have determined is perfect for chewing.  


You haven't cut any teeth yet- and I am in no rush for you to get anything, but we can tell you are working on growing them because you chew on EVERYTHING and you are drooling up a storm. 


You have become a little less clingy to me, you reach for adults we see often asking them to hold you, and you give them all of your smiles and giggles. 


In addition to people and toys- you love cats. You have discovered how to reach out and "pet" them. The cats for the most part are giving your reaching hands a little more distance, but ninja still likes to sleep touching you, Tula still sits on you often and Sam and Earl are pretty good about you petting them, so you still have lots of cats to love. You also love watching videos of rescue kittens on Instagram.  


Right now you are still fighting a bottle and won't drink thawed frozen breast-milk- I put a lot of work into making all that frozen milk for you and I have to start working more soon so hopefully that all straightens out before next month! 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dear Cordelia, Welcome to Six


Dear Cordelia, do you want to hear something crazy? You are six! Normally when I write these posts I talk about how weird it is that you are as old as you are- but right now it feels totally natural that you are six. I feel like you have been a part of our lives forever- in fact I am not quite sure who I was before I was your mother. 


It's taken me a month to write this post, I kept fumbling my words trying to express my feelings about how you have grown this past year. We have faced so many challenges this, and so many things have changed, but as I read last year's letter I was reminded that your strongest and most powerful attribute has stayed the same. You, my dear, are the most compassionate and empathetic kid I know.  

I have seen examples of your empathy multiple times this past year, but the one that  always comes to my mind first was your reaction the evening after Papa and I told you I was pregnant. As I was putting you to bed I asked you again how you felt about it, you said "well I'm a little disappointed" my heart sank a bit thinking that you would tell me you didn't want a baby sister or brother but  you said "have you and Papa known this whole time and didn't tell me? is that why you have been so sick?". Mind you we were only eight weeks pregnant when we told you- so it's not like we kept it from you forever, but honestly I didn't realize that you recognized that I was so sick but you are so aware of what other people are feeling and you notice and you care so much. 



In August you started school- this was a big change for us. Having never been to day care this was the first time you would spend all day with people who weren't family. I was petrified you wouldn't understand the structure of school and it would be hard for you to learn that you had to follow their schedule. However, first day of school you went in and loved it. Every day you come home knowing new things like force and matter and what a noun is- and you explain them to me with great enthusiasm.

  On Friday you always ask what you will do in school the next day and I have to remind you that there is no school on Saturday- and every week you are super disappointed. 


School has been such an experience. This is the first time in your life that you have picked your own friends instead of me picking them based on people I knew with kids! Truthfully I think you love pretty much everyone, but I have enjoyed seeing you make best friends. Its fun to see you imagine in the same world with other people- you even talk in "squirrel language" with one of your best friends. It's a good thing you have the best kindergarten teacher in the world, because squirrel is cuter in small doses.   


This past year involved fewer adventures for us, a big trip for a baby shower, and a beautiful wedding, but not so many museums or zoos. You were kind and you were patient with me while I was very sick and you practiced you independence while I was on bed rest.  


It was hard to not be able to do as much with you, hard on both of us because were used to coming to me for everything. However, it warmed my heart to see you grow so close with your Papa. You guys dug for dinosaurs, went camping and hiking, ran for groceries, he even took you for your yearly check up and your "how to be a big sister" class. 



I am incredibly impressed by the big sister you have become. You love Adeline with all your heart. In a year filled with so much loss I was worried you might focus on the negatives of having a new sibling but you have jumped in with all your  heart. You have been enthusiastic about everything involving Adeline, even including changing diapers. You are proud to show her off to your friends, and you delighted in being able to feed her her first baby food and take her down her first slide.     
  

I hope with every aspect of my heart that you continue to love your sister the way you do now. I have wanted you for so long to be blessed with this bond and it worth all the struggle to make it happen. 


 

Growing up has made you even sassier- this has been a year with no small amount of backtalk. You recognize when things aren't quite fair and you are willing to tell us- like the time Papa asked you to get him a glass of water and you said "no because you can do it yourself, you are just being lazy". For the record you were punished for being disrespectful, but it was hard to do because you were actually right. I hope you grow up to speak out about injustices- just maybe not to your parents. 


We knock heads a lot these days baby girl, but remember I love you with all my heart. I love everything about you. Sometimes I struggle as a mother because I am tired or I don't understand your point of view, or your vision but I am proud of who you are, I am proud that you have a vision and an opinion!  


Cordelia your heart is so big, your spirit is so adventurous, and your imagination is so vast. I can't wait to see what this next year brings us.