Just Another Day at the Zoo

We spent Memorial Day at one of our favorite places in Kansas City with what felt like half of Kansas City – the KC Zoo. It was a beautiful day, but it was crowded. We even ran in to a few people we knew including our next door neighbors. Sometimes Kansas City feels like a very small world. 

This time we road the train, the tram, and the boat. Madeline wanted to ride the sky safari, but the line was crazy long and Patrick wasn’t sure if she would really sit still on it. Maybe next time. Thank goodness for the Friends of the Zoo membership. We definitely get our money’s worth out of that thing each year. 

A hot day calls for ice cream. 

Madeline had to check on her penguins. Always a favorite stop. 

We got to see the baby orangutan up close. It was so cute. 

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Irrational Rational Fears, Overwhelming Anxiety 


The news scares me. Legit, straight up terrifies me. I can remember being a small kid and seeing the nightly news and hearing about the scary things and asking my mom if we could get an alarm for our house because I thought that would make me feel safer. So basically this is nothing new. But now, since having a child, since knowing the reality that is losing a child, the nightly news is nothing but a horror show full of terrifying images of things that could happen to my daughter, to my husband, to my family, and I don’t know how to stop the crazy anxious fear that seems to overtake my mind when I hear or read about what is happening in our world.
Don’t watch the news you say. Sure. This would seem like the logical thing to do. Except I would also have to avoid all forms of media and most social interactions with people because at some point I’m going to hear about the awful, terrible, horrible, no good thing that has happened and my mind is going to spiral into the anxiety ridden fearful place that shouts, “this could happen to you.”
When you watch the bottom drop out of your world, you quickly realize that all of those seemingly irrational fears aren’t really all that irrational anymore. Those things that seem to have small odds really CAN happen to you. You start worrying about lightening striking twice and you find yourself checking that your daughter is breathing fifty times every night and having a panic attack when you think you feel her skip a breath.
Anxiety really can mess with a person’s head.
My anxiety is watching the news story about a little toddler who went to a carnival in a nearby town and was electrocuted after she touched a fence while standing outside of a bounce house. Then having a panic attack when you realize that the same group is putting together the local carnival that you planned to take your daughter too and swearing to your husband that your child will not go anywhere near the carnival area because you are too afraid of what could happen.
My anxiety is reading the story of a bombing at a concert of a pop star and wondering if it is safe to ever go to a concert, or the mall, or the airport, or school, or the bank, or really anywhere anymore.
Anxiety and fear seem to be best friends in my head. They play so nicely together, but always against me.
I always wonder if my “crazy” fears are normal mom worries or if they are over amplified because of everything we went through to get to this place. I wonder if losing Joshua has made my fears of losing Madeline that much bigger or if my anxiety would have always been this intense.
Anxiety has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember, fear following not far behind. I worry that at times the intense fear and overwhelming anxiety I feel when it comes to Madeline might do more harm than good.
Madeline started sleeping through the night very early on. She’s always been a good sleeper. I however haven’t slept through the night in years. I wake up in a panic almost nightly, having to rest my hand on her chest or tummy to assure myself that she in fact still breathing. She is three. I’m aware that this is not normal behavior. When we go to the park I am that mom that stays close. My eyes never stray from her. I am almost always within an arms reach. I watch her play, but I am always right there – in case she needs me, in case she falls, in case someone with ill-intentions is watching. I am always right there. My anxiety, the little voice inside my head running through all of the possible worst case senarios won’t let me go anywhere else. I can’t sit on the park bench and relax with the other moms and watch from a distance. My anxious mind won’t allow it.

I wish I had the magic answer here. The solution that would calm my fears, stop the anxiety, and make the constant worrying cease. But I don’t. I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop worrying about Madeline this intensely. I’m not sure the panic attacks and nightmares will ever fully stop. Right now I’ll just keep breathing through them. I’ll keep trying to remind myself that we are doing everything we can to keep her safe and happy and that is all we can do. I will try to remember to pray a little more and worry a little less, and I’ll hope that in time the anxiety won’t feel so suffocating and the fear won’t feel so much like drowning.

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Summer Bucket List – 2017

It’s that time of year. The time where we sit down as a family and make a list of everything we would like to do this summer. We dream big, plan big, and make a list.


Go to the zoo – We bought passes again this year, so I am anticipating lots of zoo trips as always this summer.

Go to a baseball game (or two) – We are hoping to get out to the K to watch a Royals game. The last couple years it has been difficult to go with a little one, but Madeline loves watching the Royals and is getting more interested in watching the actual game, so hopefully this will happen at least once or twice. Bonus points if it’s a Fireworks Friday game.

Watch fireworks – This is a given with the 4th of July.

Have a bonfire – We are hoping to put the firepit to some good use this year.

Swim – I’m hoping to get to take Madeline to the pool a few times this summer. We are also looking at options for getting some kind of pool for the backyard. Madeline says she wants to have a pool party.

Road trip – We are planning on taking a trip down to Oklahoma to visit my cousins at some point this summer. Our schedules never seem to line up, but hopefully we can make it happen.

Garage Sale – We have been cleaning out and have a ton of stuff that we need to get rid of. A garage sale needs to happen this summer.

Powell Gardens – It’s just pretty and I like it.

City Market – I’d like to take Madeline out to the big City Market at least once this summer. We always go to Lee’s Summit and Overland Park Farmers Markets, but the City Market is a whole other vibe and I think it would be fun.

Deanna Rose Farm – We always try to make it out there at least once. Madeline loves to feed the goats.

Park Time – We always try to hit up at least 3 new parks.

Gymnastics – I’m not quite sure I’m ready to sign her up for another class quite yet. I think dance is enough for now, but I think we will try and go to the open gym time at the gymnastics place a couple times.

Mini Golf – Always a fun activity.

Bowling – We signed Madeline up for the Kids Bowl Free program, so this will most certainly be on our summer to-do list. Especially when it gets really hot or on those rainy days.

Try a new ice cream place

Go get sno cones.

Go to the drive-in.

Catch fireflies (lightning bugs) in a jar with Madeline.

Play in the sprinkler with Madeline. We bought a cute one the other day and ever since then it’s either been rainy or too cold to use it. Here’s hoping for lots of bright sunny days ahead.

Go fishing. Madeline got a Moana fishing pole for her birthday. We need to put it to use. One of the local parks has a kids fishing derby in June. I think we will go test it out.

Make homemade ice cream.

Date night.

Get a milkshake at Winsteads. It’s a Kansas City tradition.

Watch the sunset.

Go to a museum. I have been wanting to take our little artist to the art museum. We have two great ones in town. I think she would be fascinated.

Take more videos/photos with “good” camera.

Go to a splash park with Madeline.

Try a new BBQ place. We do live in Kansas City after all.

Try a new coffee shop. This would be at the top of Patrick’s list.

Play outside more.

Get a swing set for Madeline. She has outgrown the tiny little swing and slide we’ve had the last couple of years. Time for a big one.

Plant a vegetable garden. Plant more flowers. Somehow manage to keep the squirrels and rabbits from destroying them all.

Have a picnic in the park.

Grill out more.

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Making the Time Count

I’ve read the posts, we only have 940 Saturdays between when she is born until she turns 18. We only get 18 summers. Like nearly every parent, I read those articles and suddenly realize that I must have something in my eyes, because they are watering uncontrollably… Okay, I sob while reading them and then insist that Madeline come and let me cuddle her like the tiny baby that she must always remain! 


Yesterday, while we were at our second birthday party of the day, I stood there and watched Madeline run around the gymnastics place playing. She looked so big. I realized how fast time was going. She has friends. She gets invited to go to parties for kids whose parents we don’t even really know. When did that happen? She has become her own person. 


As Patrick and I stood there watching her jump into a pit of foam cubes, hang on uneven bars, jump on a trampoline, and walk across a balance beam, I told him that it so hard to just watch her and just let her go. I still see her as this tiny, breakable, little baby, but she’s not. She’s a big kid, who can do big kid things. 

I also realized how much fun she was having, and I felt proud that we have been able to give her so many fun opportunities already at just 3 years old. 

Sometimes I’ve worried that she has missed out on something, because I’ve been a working mom. Typical working mom guilt. It’s hard to send her off to preschool everyday, but then I watch her play. She is flourishing. She has so many friends. She plays well with others, she loves to make new friends wherever she goes, and she is an includer. Preschool has been amazing for her. 


Because Patrick and I both work during the week, we always make our weekends with Madeline count. From trips to the zoo to mini golf, movie nights on the sofa or playing basketball in the front yard, we make sure we are creating family memories that will hopefully last Madeline a lifetime. 

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Cooking with Madeline

Madeline and I have been cooking dinner together every night for the past couple of weeks. She has really gotten in to it. So much so that if I forget and start making dinner without her she starts crying. 


Each night she pulls one of the dining room chairs over to the kitchen counter and asks, “what we going to make?”

She has made the chore of cooking dinner every night after work something that I genuinely look forward to each day. 


We have made everything from deep dish pizza to Belgian waffles. I think her favorite so far has been the brownies. 

I am really enjoying having my new little helper in the kitchen. 

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Dress Rehearsal 

We survived our first dress rehearsal. 

The girls all look like adorable little poofs of pink and purple cotton candy in their costumes. We need to see the shoes on her teddy bear, because they seem to come off very easily and I can see them flying across the stage now. I also need to tighten up the straps on her dress a bit. Even the XXS is too big on our tiny girl. Other than that it looks like everything is coming together and it was pretty adorable to see all of them in their dresses. 

Little Miss loves blowing me kisses instead of standing still on the line. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty cute. 

She’s always right in the middle of the circle of girls. She has made so many little friends this year between dance class and preschool. She is quite the social butterfly. She always have to give out a million hugs before we leave anywhere and everyone loves to talk to her and play with her. 

I mean how cute is she? 

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When Mother’s Day is Hard

Mother’s Day is hard. Even with my sweet, little, beautiful Madeline, it is STILL hard. I look at her and I know that I am blessed.
I know that I am lucky because there are so many that are still longing with aching hearts and empty arms to hear the words “momma, I love you” and for that I know that I am blessed. And even still my heart aches and my soul longs to hear those words come from another little voice too.

My arms, no matter how full of hugs from my sweet girl, will always still ache at the inability to hold her big brother. I feel the weight of her body as she cuddles in each night still wanting to be held before falling asleep (don’t say she is spoiled – you can’t possibly understand the reasons we do what we do) and I feel the weight of so much more than just her tiny 26 pounds. I feel joy and grief dancing their every present tango inside my heart.

I miss him.

Often it is that simple and that complicated all at once. I just miss him. I long to be with him as much as I am with her and that is simply an impossibility this side of Heaven.

These holidays are such aching reminders of what was, what is, and what could have been. They bring up wounds that never heal. They make me cry tears that never really dry. They leave my heart feeling vulnerable and wounded.

I know I am not the only one. That makes me sad too. As much as my heart aches for my Joshua, my heart aches for your child too.

My heart aches for the ones that are still tearfully and prayerfully waiting for a positive result on a test that you take month after month just hoping that the odds will be in your favor this time. My heart aches for those who have seen those tests turn positive only to have your heart break weeks or months later. My heart aches for the ones who have watched the ultrasound machine anxiously as the doctor searched for a sign of hope. My heart aches for those who, like us, have held your tiny child in your arms as they took their final breath. My heart aches for those of you who have had to say goodbye at any point, at any age, for we all know that 15 minutes, 36 hours, 15 years, 36 years, none of it is enough time with our children. My heart aches for the moms (and dads) I know that right now are watching their little ones fight battles that are far bigger than they should have to fight. This motherhood gig is not for the faint of heart.

So today while my heart somehow feels both full and broken, I am still grateful. Grateful to the little boy who made me a mother. I miss you more than words could ever express and I love you to Heaven and back. And to the little girl who made me a momma, I love you. Thank you for helping to heal your broken momma’s heart.

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Three

Three!

Three years of giggles, some tears (hers and ours too), lots of hugs, kisses, and plenty of cuddles, a few sleepless nights, lots of lullabyes and Disney sing-a-longs, more princesses than daddy ever thought he could count, lots of game nights, movies, zoo trips, living room dance parties, and countless weekend adventures, and more joy than we could have ever dreamed of. To say this little girl is loved is an understatement. She is loved beyond measure. She is loved beyond words. She is loved all the way to the moon and back times infinity. She is our rainbow, our love, our joy, our giggle, our wonderful, sweet, little Madeline. May three be filled with as much joy and adventure as two. We adore you, baby girl!

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Madeline,

I know that the saying is “terrible twos,” but honestly two was pretty terrific with you.  To watch you grow and learn this year has been such an amazing and wonderful adventure.  I will admit that you have had your fair share of temper tantrums and you have even sat in timeout a time or two (or twenty), but overall two was pretty great.

While two you have mastered potty training.  You started dance class this year and you are doing so well.  You can almost write your name (Maddy) by yourself  You can draw circles. You can draw stick people with lots of details. You can copy most letters, numbers, and shapes fairly well. You know your ABCs. You can count to at least 17 sometimes higher on your own. You are starting to recognize letters and numbers by sight. You know all of  your colors, shapes, and animals (and sounds). You can run, jump, skip, and of course dance. You follow complex directions. You are getting much better with scissors. You love to do arts and crafts. You know the words to lots of songs and love to perform for us. You love to play board games (and are really good too). You are still a really picky eater that often chooses to skip dinner (you’ll eat when you’re hungry has become my motto). You love Disney princesses, Shopkins, and Barbies. You still take good care of your baby dolls, and love to play doctor and dress up. You love to go to the zoo, Paradise Park, Sky Zone (the jumping place), the park, Target (lol), and anywhere that’s fun.  You love to watch the Royals play baseball and cheer for Salvy.

We switched daycares this year and put you in a preschool that is much closer to my office and is much more preschool curriculum based than free-play.  It has been crazy to see how well you have flourished in your new preschool.  You adore your new teachers and have made so many new friends and they all love you too.  It was not a decision we took lightly or one that was easy for us to make, but it has honestly been the best thing for you.  I am so grateful to know that you love your new school and it has made the drop-off in the mornings so much easier.

You have grown and changed so much this last year.  I look back at photos of you from this time last year and I can really see how your little baby face has changed.  Now I look at you and just see this beautiful little girl.  You are so smart, Madeline.  You amaze me daily with the words you say and the things that you know.  It is surreal to be able to have a full (sometimes pretty deep) conversation with you.  I’ve always dreamed of having a little girl that I could have the kind of friendship with that I have with my mom, and it is such a cool thing to see that dream coming true right before my eyes.  I love our little chats after school while we wait for dad to come home from work.  Those are moments that I will always cherish.

To watch you play this year has been so much fun! Your imagination has really taken off. All of your Barbie dolls, all of your Shopkins, all of your stuffed animals and dolls, all of them have elaborate storylines that you act out each time you play.  Some of the stories you come up with are pretty good too.  You love to pretend that you are the momma and that mom and dad are the babies and you are taking care of us.  This is one of your favorite little games to play.  Well, that and you like to play doctor and give us all shots.  That you think is pretty funny.

I will often catch you singing songs from Moana or Frozen while you are coloring or playing with your kitchen toys.  You have such a sweet little voice.  I love to listen to you sing.  If I’m really lucky you will sing and dance too.  You are such a good performer.  You really are talented (and I swear I’m not just saying that because I’m your mom).

You are the most beautiful, talented, sweet, lovable, funny, intelligent, amazing, wonderful, all-around-perfect three year old I know, and I am so grateful that I get to be your momma.

Love you always,

Momma

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Maddy Draws

I have been so impressed lately with the way Madeline has been drawing.  When she colors she stays in the lines, and now when she draws I can usually tell what it is she is drawing. Her favorites are hearts and people.  She loves to draw her family.  Last night she drew mom, dad, herself (and she said she was painting her nails in the picture), grandma, Uncle Jeff, and Aunt Cathy.  I think Sophie might have been in there too.

 

My little budding artist hard at work.  IMG_1116IMG_1117IMG_1118IMG_112017309570_10100846904154749_4352159649760347921_n

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Just Playing Around

Today we got to go hang out and play at Main Event an arcade and bowling alley with Patrick’s co-workers and their families.  Madeline had a blast getting to play game after game.  She loves to play arcade games.

Madeline and daddy having a ball playing games together.

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Madeline also got to go bowling for the first time while we were there.  We weren’t quite sure if she would like it or if she would want to stick with it for a whole game.  Boy were we surprised when she played two whole games!  She loved it.  Between the bumpers and the little ramp that they had for kids to help guide the ball, she did pretty good too.  We will definitely have to take her bowling again sometime soon.  She had a lot of fun, and it was pretty fun watching the little dance she would do each time after she would take her turn.

Her personality just keeps growing bigger and bigger everyday.  I am constantly amazed by her.  She is just such a happy, silly, fun kid to be around.  It makes days like this extra fun.

Madeline played hard.  By the time we got home she was passed out in the car and didn’t even wake up when I got her out of her carseat.  Love this kid.

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