Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dear Jason

  It's been a while since we saw you, so I want to let you know how the girls and I are doing since you've been gone.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
(But I'm sure I'll add a few in anyway, because, you know me, I like to talk!)

I don't have to tell you Lila is still cute as can be. 

And she still loves pancakes and syrup! 

And Harper still has the best smile this side of the Pecos!

She likes cake. 

And swings. 

But she keeps me in the doctor's office like it's a hobby!

She turned 9 months old...

Lila got sick a time or two, as well.

Harper sits in high chairs at restaurants now.

And plays princess.

Lila looooves for Uncle Joey to throw her up high, like you did. 

She also loves her friend, Emma!

We took our last gymnastics class. It made me sad, but it's time to try dance. 

Then Harper turned 10 months...

And is a handful of trouble!

We go on McDonald's dates before school often. Lila still gets pancakes but now she also eats a "fry" (hashbrown).

Both girls loved Easter. We spent it at Matt's and Joey's houses! 

Lila is looking older to me. Stunning.

We love a little girl talk. 

Seriously, she can put away some pancakes... 

I still have to trick them into napping sometimes by driving up and down I-35W. Mommy wins this one. 

Harper is starting to look older to me, too. Beautiful. 

We went to Jake's birthday party. He's 1 now!! 

Lila ate cupcakes. Are you shocked?

We try to enjoy patios for lunch as long as possible during the nice season. 

I have a lot of pictures of our kids eating! At least this one is chicken and not pancakes...

Harper took her first trip to Walmart. Gross. (You can tell she knows...)

Lila started play therapy. I am looking for ways for her to cope with her grief. She sleeps in bed with me a lot now (a big no-no in the past) and is scared of big noises at bedtime. 

Mother's Day passed... I had a few of my dear friends remember me on a particularly sad day for me. I also spent the day with the girls and Starbucks. 

I even worked out once. I had an allergic reaction to it. Started sweating and turning red, so I stopped :)

Bath time is hit or miss nowadays. This day was a hit. #mohawkbyrequest

Time keeps on ticking, Jason. She turned 11 months...

And then she got this rash! And I freaked out! Don't worry, she's ok. 

She always has a lot to say.

Did I mention that we love patio weather?

The girls play on your dirty clothes. Other than that, your side of the closet is untouched. 

We go to the park...

And shop for lotions & candles on special occasions.  

We play in the sprinklers. Lila calls them "finkle". You would be amazed at how well she is talking now. You can actually have a conversation with her... about little stars that twinkle and whatnot.

We always apply sunscreen beforehand! 

Harper waits with me for Lila at therapy. 

We hung out with friends on Memorial Day weekend and ate lots of watermelon. 

Lila's never under-dressed. She's a lady.

And Harper is thinkin about walking! But not today. 

It's not all beer and skittles though, babe. Harper has had the flu twice more since you saw her last, plus a reaction to antibiotics for a suspected sinus infection, and several other doctor visits for one thing or another. Lila got strep throat and also had to have bloodwork for some poopy problems. I've had to call in to work a few times, but have hardly any hours to take. And Jasper needs braces!! All in 3.5 short months. Lila still asks for you any time she is hurt or sad. She points out any bald man with a similar build to yours and calls him daddy. Stupid morning crossing guard. She got her first bee sting the other day and cried for you until my heart hurt. Stupid bee. He's dead now. I guess my point is that things aren't always as great as the smiles you see here, but we do manage to find some great moments. Don't worry, I got this. But we still miss you.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

THANK YOU & Paying It Forward

  Ok, so that whole "pay it forward" saying is something I would usually classify as a "buzz word", mostly because (believe it or not) I was so cynical! Who me??
But when I tried to think of ways to pay back the kindness we were shown when Jason died, I couldn't think of any other way. I decided to do my best to do kind things, however big or small, just to throw it back at the universe. 

After all, if not for simple (and BIG!) acts of kindness, I wouldn't be able to focus on healing myself and my girls as much as I have. I have said it many times, I am eternally grateful for so many people that I can't even list them all. But I'll try my best and pleeeease know that I have been mentally and emotionally drained, so there's a good chance I'm forgetting heaps of people and therefore I may not even post this! If you're reading this, well, daring Claire won out over play-it-safe Claire!
Deep breath in, here goes! 

The girls' school has been so helpful, generous and understanding. I will never forget you ladies. THANK YOU!

My friends, Cynthia and Lizz, who set up a gofundme.com account for daycare expenses caught me totally off guard and made me cry at 2am on several nights. THANK YOU!

My cyber soulmate, Shala, owner of Vintage Flower Farm, (find her on Etsy or Facebook for adorable baby girl headbands) set up a successful auction for us. THANK YOU!
(Seriously cute headbands; Lila at 1 year old. Pic by www.yourcandidmemories.com)

Those who donated and bought anything from the above-mentioned auction, THANK YOU!

My old coworkers from Chili's even set up a give-back event, in which a percentage of the food sales went to help my family. THANK YOU!

To the whole staff at my pediatrician's office, y'all know I love to see you weekly like I do. You have done so much for us! Especially Lacee, who tolerates my endless texts and questions! THANK YOU!

My S11M mommy friends, you ladies are a class act. You are truly amazing and you all have done so much for me in these 3+ years. THANK YOU! 

To my neighbors & friends who mowed my lawn, because I don't even have a lawn mower and would like to keep my toes, THANK YOU!

My family who drove and flew from all over the metroplex and all over America, who put their busy lives and work schedules on hold to stay with me for a month, THANK YOU!

To my best friend, Ashley, for sleeping in my bed with me, getting no sleep at 9 months pregnant, and listening to me repeat myself over and over while I cried into my pillow, THANK YOU! 
                  (Me and Ashley)

Sara, for everything you do and are, for loving Lila and Harper when mommy needs a beer break, THANK YOU!

Jason's friends are the best and have checked on us frequently, brought us dinner, invited us to their homes for holidays, helped with Jason's final arrangements, installed little swings for the girls and offered countless ways to help us. They truly love Jason. Matt and Israel, THANK YOU!
    (Iz and Jason)
              (Matt & Lila on Easter)

My coworkers who picked up slack and just plain don't ask too many questions, I just hope y'all forgive me one day! THANK YOU!

Sheryl, my life is so much better with a clean house. It is almost impossible to maintain this beast alone, particularly with my kids actively working against me! Because of you, I am not alone. THANK YOU!

Many donations, individual fundraisers (The Striped Swallow, Origami Owl, Scentsy, The Karma Club, the Fashion Co-op group!) and gifts were sent our way. Tons of love was sent via cards, play things for the girls, monthly diapers (Alicia!), wipes, gifts, fruit baskets, dinners on the meal train, flowers, babysitting, books, even Harper's upcoming 1-year-old picture session (Amy!), and many, MANY prayers and check-ins. Even Jason's coworkers and friends I had never met showed up on our doorstep. Not to mention the sticker surplus Lila enjoyed for a few weeks there! She was in sticker heaven! So many people gave to the daycare fund and I was honored, humbled and shocked to see your names on the donations. It was overwhelming to see you all there. And yes, even the "anonymous" donations showed me your identities on the actual payment site, so I know who you are and I've prayed for you, even if you're not a pray-er! I love you. Your support was a game changer. THANK YOU!

You reading this! Yes, you. The handful of people who read this blog, particularly those who give me feedback, therefore participating in my own brand of therapy, THANK YOU! 

To my daughters, you should be thanking me for making you out of practical thin air and then birthing, feeding and housing you. But it is I who owes you two. For simply giving me a REASON. 

Immediately after I was shown this level of kindness, I was humbled and was given a better perspective of where I really stand in this universe. Not as big and I thought. Not as small as I felt. Confusing? Yep. Still working through that. I started "paying it forward" because it just felt natural. Even though I owe more karma than I could ever pay back, I plan to continue trying! Don't you worry, I will do a post about that, too. Soon. Stay tuned. 

                 Love & Happiness,