Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Christmas Day

I still wasn't feeling my whole normal self, but I definitely felt better. There are actually a few pictures of me this time. =)

As I was uploading these photos (half of them are mine and half of them are my mother-in-laws), I realized that there was this HORRIBLE glare in all my photos. I was sitting here angry, angry, angry and not being productive, when my brilliant husband suggested he clean the lens and voila problem solved (where was he Christmas day to solve the problem? Grrrr). Nothing like "Not wanting to buy your wife a new camera" to motivate you to fix the one she has.

Mama and Connor and the glare!
 Daddy and Connor
 Daddy showing Connor Santa's plate - He ate all the cookies and the reindeer ate most of the carrots!
 A new scooter from Grandma and Grandpa Howard
 A New Rocking Chair from Grandma and Grandpa Howard
 Santa Came!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 And Connor was thrilled to open presents (he paid no attention to whom the presents were addressed and instead opened every one he saw).
 Nana and Connor playing with one of his favorite gifts from Nana and Grandpa Kirkpatrick
 My brother and Sister
 Oh wow! This is fun!
Our family and the HORRIBLE glare. At this point in the evening, I was NOT feeling well again. Ick!
 Grandpa Howard and Connor (my dad is in the background)
 A beautiful gift that Kathe had made in Alabama from all the parents (Kathe, Tim, my mom, and my dad) - I'll post a photo of it later. I started crying when I opened it.
 Santa got Connor a MINI-COOPER!!!!!
 And while he was a little afraid of it, I think in time it will be his favorite gift ever!!
 Here is the gift that all the parents bought me. Kathe took Cole's announcement to a jeweler (who apparently, cried when he saw it) and asked them to make me a beautiful necklace replica of his footprint. They made a wax cast of the foot and from there made this GORGEOUS necklace. I haven't worn it yet, but I am positive that once I put it on, it will be impossible to take off. It is absolutely breathtaking!!!
 My mom and dad got us a glider for Connor's nursery and our future babies. I always wanted one when Connor was little, but we couldn't afford it and had already been given so much.
There are soo many other presents I could post about and we all were incredibly, incredibly spoiled this year. Aside from me being sick, it was one of the best Christmas's we've had so far. It was so fun to see our Little Man enjoy the magic of the holiday! I can't wait until next year.

Our Christmas Eve

The other Howards (Mr. Howard's parents) came out from Alabama to celebrate the holidays with us.

On Christmas Eve (which is also Tim's birthday) we had a birthday celebration and spaghetti dinner at our house with my family and Mr. Howard's family.

Uncle Colin and his Nephew (below)
  Grandpa Kirk, Connor, Grandma & Grandpa Howard
 Connor in his Christmas Eve Pajamas
 Daddy and Connor
 Daddy and Connor
Aunt Katie and her Nephew
Mr. Howard and his new beer glass: 
In case you're wondering, Mommy (aka me) had the horrible stomach flu and had spent the days before in bed. There is one photo of us as a family and I really want to not be vain and not care about how I look, but I really can't bring myself to post it. I was just feeling (and clearly LOOKING) horrible!

Confessions of a Mommy and Wife...

I have started this blog countless times and haven't found the right way to blog what I'm feeling. Instead of doing my normal blog style, I'm going to give snippets:

  1. I've cried in the car over Cole...something about all the time to think in the car.
  2. I was supposed to be 8 months pregnant at Christmas with Cole and I'm sad about it.
  3. What I've gone through has hardened me in a way I am SO not proud. When I hear of other people's tragedies, instead of feeling an enormous sense of compassion, my first thoughts are, "You have no idea!" I absolutely, unequivocally hate this and want it to change. I wonder if friends who've experienced much more difficult things think this about what I've gone through.
  4. I have been robbed of a blissful pregnancy. Never again will I blindly trust and for that I am angry.
  5. I am so in love with my husband.
  6. We are going to have an amazing year. I am 100% confident of this.
  7. Despite the "grief from the depths of my soul" feeling, I am so wonderfully happy and blessed. I honestly cannot complain about my life. To have had the blessings of the most wonderful pregnancy that ended in a beautiful, healthy little boy is no small thing.
  8. I haven't cried over Connor since he was little (and I was hormonal)... until this week. This week I got my first glimpse of that stage everyone calls the terrible twos. He grabbed hold of my hair and pulled as hard and as menacingly as he possible could. I swear I saw something in his eyes. He then went over to the dogs and smacked them as hard as he possible could, repeatedly. He came back over to me and hit me, just for good measure. I tried a zillion different strategies: compassion, firm voice, grabbing him and holding him (a sort of time out), ignoring him, crying (this doesn't work...he thought I was laughing), yelling (yep, not proud of this), and all sorts of other things I thought I'd never do as a mom. I NEVER UNDERSTOOD WHY/HOW IT'S DIFFERENT WHEN YOU'RE A BABYSITTER....until today. The reason you can stay calm when you're a babysitter is because you know it'll pass. When you're a mom, you know it will pass, but these unbelievably strong feelings of "What if he's a terror and turns out to be the terribly behaved child that I've always prayed I don't have?!?" and "I'm the worst mom in the whole wide world" and "I'm sure other moms have raised their kids to have compassion and Connor is the only child in the whole world ever who has looked like the devil" and "I don't want to yell, but I can't stop" and "I know that this isn't working, but other moms know exactly what to do and how to do it!" Of course, as I sit here typing this, I know none of this is true. I know I'm doing the best I can. But in the moment when your child is smacking you in the face, you feel like a failure. Any other moms relate to this?
  9. I got several inches taken off my hair and had my hair blowdryed and I feel AMAZING.
  10. My husband doesn't know this, but I fully plan on leaving him for a few hours tomorrow with Connor by himself so that I can get a mommy break. I know I get more mommy breaks than most and I should feel guilty about this. But I really don't.
  11. Whenever I can't have something, it is suddenly ALL I think about. It is ridiculous. It reminds me of when I have a cold and can't breath from my nose. I dream about how lucky I was when I was able to breath and how I can't believe I took it so for granted. And how if I could breath through my nose I would savor every tiny breath....mmmm....innnnn and oooouuutttt.
  12. It is 8:00am and Connor is still sleeping and for that I am so grateful.
  13. You know how people say that when they first saw their child they were instantly 100% in love and had never known love like that? I didn't feel that way. I loved Connor immensely, incredibly more than my friends. But I love my husband in an equally powerful, yet oh-so-different, way. But what has surprised me, is that I didn't know I could love Connor more than I did that first day I held him. It's ironic that on a day when he can so fully shake me to my core with feelings of mommy failure, that I can also look at him and think, WOW!!! I LOVE YOU INFINITELY MORE THAN I DID 17 MONTHS AGO WHEN I HELD YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME. How much more will I love him in 10 years? Incredible that our hearts are capable of this and yet why does it surprise me? I love my husband infinitely more than I did 10 years ago.
  14. You know how people say when they go through tragedy, "It brought us so much closer..." Well, if I'm being really honest, there was a time when I thought our tragedy would cause our divorce. We grieved so differently, that I thought it couldn't possibly work out. While I obviously never admitted that at the time, I am happy to say, that it definitely HAS brought us so much closer. We are the only two people to have had OUR experience.
  15. We are so blessed to have the friends and family we do in our life. I do not take for granted how much more difficult all this would have been without you all.
  16. I pray every night to be better - a better mommy, a better wife, a better friend. And I pray that I'll be whole some day.
Thank you for letting me honest. I am lucky to have my online friends who read this blog too. It's nice to feel supported in a community of bloggers.

Any confessions you want to add?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Smartie Pants

The dogs just snuck into Connor's room (how on earth they opened the door...I have no idea), so I have to be quick! But...I just HAD to brag about my smartie pants husband!

P.S. Do you see the classes he had to take?!? Intro to college and psychology! Ick!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One of my Favorite Parts about Christmas

is all the cards we receive in the mail!!! Doesn't it just brighten your day to open an envelope addressed to you or your family and see warm wishes and beautiful faces smiling back at you?!?

This year I did something different and hung our cards in our kitchen on a piece of ribbon. The ones that didn't have pictures are sitting on the counter close by. =)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Honor of Cole This Holiday Season...

Jen and Diana if you're reading this, I promise to return your phone calls tomorrow.

Diana got this one for our Christmas tree. She also got one for Connor. =)
The ornament below we bought. It's a bell with angel wings and Cole's name. Our neighbors gave us a catalogue with these in them and I had never seen anything like it (they have a few on their tree in honor of their angel babies too). It's from the It's a Wonderful Life movie, in honor of the concept that everytime a bell rings, an angel gets its' wings.
I couldn't get a good photo of the ornament below, so I took it off the website. My sister got us this beautiful angel ornament with Cole's full name and birthdate inscribed on it. It's made by Make-A-Wish. What I especially loved was that for every purchase of their Make-A-Wish® gift, Things Remembered donated $2 of the purchase price, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $200,000, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. Courtney & Filip, aren't you proud? =)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve 2010

Here is this year's Christmas Card. For previous ones, click on the Label at the bottom of this post that says Christmas Card

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

First Sleepover!

Connor technically has had one other sleepover at my Mom's, but it was on accident. He was staying at her house while Mr. Howard and I moved my classroom. At 6:30, she put him down with the intention of us picking him up when we were done. Unfortunately, we didn't finish moving until about 10pm. Connor was supposed to go back to my Mom's the next day anyway, so instead of waking him up only to take him home, put him in bed, wake him up in the morning, and bring him back to my mom's in the morning...we just left him there.

His first OFFICIAL planned sleepover occured last Saturday at my sister's house. Connor had such a great time and, according to my sister, did really well! I'm so glad it went well and perhaps will lead the way to future sleepovers when we have more children. =) Or perhaps it will allow us the occasional night getaway.

THANK YOU KATIE!!! We love you!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Tree

Christmas 2010 - Daddy and Connor
 Christmas 2010 - Mommy and Connor
 Christmas 2010 - Mommy and Daddy

Our Christmas Party

We hosted my work's Christmas party on Saturday and had such a great time. Weeks ago I arranged to have my mom's housekeeper come on the day of the party to help me mop the floors, dust everything, and just give our house a fresh once over. And oh-what-a-blessing that was. The best part was that my mom surprised us by paying for it!! After having her come and seeing how dirty our house really has gotten, it made me think, "Perhaps I don't really need to eat that frequently. I think we can afford to give up a few meals to have Irma come more frequently."

No, but really. I used to be a pretty good homemaker. I was the girl who ALWAYS made my bed before leaving the house...everything was always in its' place with perfectly dusted shelves, mopped and vacuumed floors every week, and a house I was never embarrassed of. And, while my house is always neat (well almost always) and tidy, it isn't always clean. I don't mop as frequently as I'd like. I certainly don't dust as frequently as I'd like. And there is often clutter next to my fridge, as I store doctor appointment slips, Connor's overflowing diaper bag, my purse, receipts, bills, and much more. It was just so nice to have someone force me to put all that stuff away and give my house the Pine-Sol smell I've been missing.

I thought I'd take some photos while the house was clean. =)

Our living room and tree:

 Our dining room:
 Our Entry Way Table/Wine Storage (the table keeps getting more and more stuff on it. I think we need a bigger one)!
Our Guest Bathroom
 Connor's Nursery, View 1
 Connor's Nursery - View 2
 Our Eat-in Kitchen Area (no chairs because Connor climbs up on the table)

 Our Hallway Nook
 Our Master Bedroom
 Our Guest Bedroom...Soon to be Connor's Big Boy Room. We have been planning that since we found out we were pregnant with Cole.
 Our Hallway Wall with Photos. We keep adding to it. The frames are all different and we like it that way.
 Our family room
Too bad our house won't stay this beautiful and toy-free forever! Although, I have to say, I do not for one second take it for granted how lucky we are to have a house filled with toys. It is a good problem to have!

Our Weather

We have had horrible stormy weather around here...horrible! In fact, our power went out yesterday at 3pm and didn't come back on until 6am this morning. Thankfully my parents let us come over and eat dinner at their house so that we had some light and heat. =) I think everything in our refrigerator made it through the 15 hour power outage. We had some DELICIOUS chocolate covered apples and strawberries and they didn't melt, so I'm taking that to mean everything is going to survive. I know this photo isn't the best, but it was what I could get with my iphone. We had to put candles all over the house - it made for a very romantic evening with a one year old who didn't understand why it was sooo dark. ;-) Hehe! Can't you just picture his little thought bubble, "Why don't they turn on the lights?"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy 28th Birthday

You Are
A Loving Daddy
A Hard Worker
A Devoted Husband
A Loyal Friend
A Dedicated Student
A Supportive Son and Son-in-Law
My Best Friend
My Strength
My Lover
My Laughter
My Precious Birthday Boy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Love, My Life

God, I love this man! There is no way I could have gotten through the past few months without him.

Happy Almost 28th Birthday, My Love!

Cole's Name Gallery

As always, we are so blessed by friends and family who think of our precious boy and send photos. We can't thank you enough.

Sent Anonymously
 I found this one when I was looking for a Christmas Gift for a friend:
 The next three were sent by Cole's Aunt Katie (my sister):
 This is the little boy, Alex, she babysits...

Connor and Cole:
 Having a little fun in the tub...Connor and Cole:


A friend, Lindsey, posted this quote from Elizabeth Edwards (who lost her son). I thought it was especially striking considering she passed away this week:
"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift." -Elizabeth Edwards

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